The College Consensus ranking of the Best Colleges in New Mexico combines the results of the most respected college ranking systems with the averaged ratings of thousands of real student reviews from around the web to create a unique college meta-ranking. This approach offers a comprehensive and holistic perspective missing from other college rankings. Visit our about page for information on which rankings and review sites were included in this year’s consensus rankings.
The Best Colleges & Universities in New Mexico category is limited to schools in New Mexico. Schools that did not qualify for a Consensus Score were ranked by their Student Review score.
Seeking Out the Best Colleges in New Mexico
With its history rooted in natural resources, it should be no surprise that New Mexico’s best colleges are its research universities; the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, in particular, has been ranked one of the best regional universities in the West, and has built a long-standing reputation for excellence in engineering and business. New Mexico State University, and the University of New Mexico, the state’s two top public research universities, exert a significant influence over the entire state, educating a high proportion of New Mexico’s professionals in everything from education to healthcare. These are the universities at the center of New Mexico’s growth in technology and innovation, building not only on their foundations in science, but on relationships with the US military and federal government.
New Mexico, of course, is a big state with a small population, and there just aren’t that many colleges and universities represented. However, St. John’s College deserves mention, ranking as one of the best small colleges and one of the best liberal arts colleges in the US. New Mexico also owes a great debt to its community colleges; while College Consensus does not rank community colleges, New Mexico community colleges do the real heavy lifting in preparing the workforce and giving low-income students the ability to transfer to full universities, and achieve social mobility.
The Responsibility of New Mexico Higher Education
The magic that artists like George Herriman and Georgia O’Keeffe saw in places like the magnificent Enchanted Mesa and Ghost Ranch is the everlasting quality that makes New Mexico like no other place in America. New Mexico is almost all desert, except for some forests in the northern mountains, and petroleum and mining have been the main economic foundations for the past century. So, too, has the military, taking advantage of vast land for elite training, top-secret programs, and contact with extraterrestrials (oops – forget we said that). Economic incentives have made the state a destination for film and television, and with low taxes and an untapped job market, no state is more primed than New Mexico to be America’s next tech hub.
It’s the best colleges in New Mexico that will make it possible to the Land of Enchantment to conquer the 21st century. One of the smallest and least dense populations in the nation, New Mexico’s best colleges have to work to bring students; outreach is everything, and New Mexico colleges are making a point of meeting students where they are. For all of New Mexico’s prospective professionals, technicians, artists, and leaders, the College Consensus has run the numbers, gathering the most respectable college rankings and the most verifiable student reviews. The College Consensus gives students the long view, the wide view, and the full picture, just like New Mexico’s big skies and endless vistas.
Unfortunately, while it has awe-inspiring landscapes and a beautiful, ancient culture, New Mexico also has a large population of impoverished, unemployed, and disadvantaged people, due to exploitation of the land and its resources, and the oppression of the region’s Hispanic and Native populations. That places a major responsibility on the higher education system, which accounts for a large proportion of employment – the University of New Mexico itself is one of the largest employers in the state. It’s also a situation that is ripe for change; growing recognition of Hispanic and Native Americans in American politics, and a younger generation motivated for change, will ensure that change comes.
But the best colleges in New Mexico will be crucial to creating real, lasting improvements in the lives of New Mexicans of all races and backgrounds. The signs are already there, from technological outreach using online degree programs, to real-world initiatives to increase the number of American Indian and Latino-American participation in higher education. In the 21st century, when technology is the center of nearly every industry, there is nothing standing in the way of success but access, and that’s the one thing New Mexico’s colleges and universities are best suited to provide.
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