The new edition of the U.S. News and World Report rankings of America's best colleges and universities brings little new to the liberal arts world. Williams and Amherst have retained their places as the country's top two liberal arts institutions, while Bowdoin kept its ranking as the sixth best.

Over the past five years, the top three slots in both liberal arts and universities have been occupied by the same three schools. In the liberal arts category, the order of the top three has not shifted once.

However, a newcomer did break into the top 10 list this year: Claremont McKenna replaced last year's ninth-best liberal arts school, Davidson. Pomona moved up in the ranks to fourth from sixth, a space it used to share with Bowdoin.

In recent years, Bowdoin has maintained a steady presence in the top 10. appearing either sixth or seventh on the list in the past five years.

Middlebury dropped from fourth to fifth this year, and was followed in the ranks by Bowdoin, Carleton and Wellesley, all tied for sixth.

The U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on academic reputation, first year retention rates, admissions selectivity, graduation rates, financial resources and alumni donation rates.