Higher Education

West Michigan colleges rank among 'best' in US

August 7, 2015
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Calvin College opens mineral museum
Calvin College, with almost 4,000 students, is one of the nation's largest Christian colleges. Photo via fb.com

Several West Michigan colleges are considered some of the “best” in the country by The Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review released this week its 2016 edition of “The Best 380 Colleges,” which highlights Calvin College and Kalamazoo College.

The Princeton Review also released this year’s set of regional rankings, which names five West Michigan colleges among the 159 institutions in the ranking of the “Best in the Midwest”: Grand Valley State University; Calvin College; Hope College; Kalamazoo College; and Western Michigan University.

Several other colleges across Michigan, as noted below, also appear on the rankings.

“The Best 380 Colleges”

“The Best 380 Colleges” is based on a survey that asks students nearly 80 questions on a school's academics, administration and student body.

The Princeton Review ranks each college based on answers from more than 136,000 students in about 62 categories.

David Soto, senior editor of “The Best 380 Colleges” and the “Best in the Midwest,” said the company’s mission is to help demystify the process for prospective students selecting a college and provide a “slice of life of what it is like to attend a certain school.”

“The college admissions process is so fraught with stress and anxiety around picking the right college, getting into the right college and ultimately paying for the right college,” Soto said. “There is only so much you can glean from a website and a book, but what we think we do differently is survey students and go to who we think are the real college experts.”

Calvin College ranks among the top 20 colleges in nine categories: Best Health Services, No. 7; Most Religious Students, No. 11; Future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution, No. 11; Best Athletic Facilities, No. 19; and LGBTQ-Unfriendly, No. 8.

Kalamazoo College also ranks among the top 20 colleges in two categories: Most Popular Study Abroad Programs, No. 11; and Least Religious Students, No. 14.

The Best 380 Colleges” annual ranking has been published each year since 1992 in The Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” guide.

"Best in the Midwest"

The “Best in the Midwest” ranking represents a cross section of colleges providing "excellent" undergraduate programs despite their differences in student size and campus culture.

The regional ranking incorporates similar factors as the “The Best 380 Colleges,” such as meeting stellar academic criteria, updated statistical information provided by the school and information gathered from the student survey.

The “Best in the Midwest” ranking represents a number of states: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Select group

With 15 percent of four-year institutions in the nation selected for “The Best 380 Colleges” ranking and roughly 30 percent of institutions included in the “Best Colleges: Region by Region” compilation, Soto said The Princeton Review wants to ensure those represented are excellent.

“A lot of Michigan schools are on the list[s] and have been for quite some time,” Soto said. “It is a pretty good representation all around from the area. I think ‘The Best 380 Colleges’ in and of itself is a fairly selective group. The regional list represents a pretty narrow view from 30 to 40 percent of all four-year schools.”

“The Best 380 Colleges”

Albion College, Albion

Calvin College, Grand Rapids

Hillsdale College, Hillsdale

Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo

Michigan Technological University, Houghton

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

“Best in the Midwest”

Albion College, Albion

Alma College, Alma

Calvin College, Grand Rapids

Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti

Grand Valley State University, Allendale

Hillsdale College, Hillsdale

Hope College, Holland

Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo

Kettering University, Flint

Lawrence Technological University, Southfield

Michigan State University, East Lansing

Michigan Technological University, Houghton

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor

University of Michigan-Flint, Flint

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo

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