Thursday, August 5, 2010

Washington College A National "Best" in Princeton Review Guides

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College is one of the best schools in the nation according to the Princeton Review, the nationally known education services company. The historic college, which was founded under the patronage of George Washington in 1782, is included in the just-published 2011 edition of the company’s respected flagship guide, The Best 373 Colleges. Approximately 15 percent of the four-year colleges in the United States, plus two in Canada, are represented in the book.

The Princeton Review uses both institutional data and student input to create its profiles of the selected colleges and universities. Washington College students describe “a great, small-school environment where everyone is always friendly and active,” and where professors “are always available and willing to help or even just chat about daily life.” They mention the frequency of “famous guest lecturers,” give high marks to WC’s “exceptional premedical program” and “strong environmental studies program,” and note that it is “a very good writing school.”

Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s Senior Vice President for Publishing, commends Washington College for its “outstanding academics,” which is the primary criteria for selecting schools for the book. “Our choices are based on institutional data we collect about schools, our visits to schools over the years, feedback we gather from students attending the schools, and the opinions of our staff and our 28-member National College Counselor Advisory Board,” he explains. “We also work to keep a wide representation of colleges in the book by region, size, selectivity and character.”

For its descriptions of campus life, the company relies heavily on an 80-question survey of students at each school, surveys that are updated every three years. (Washington College students were last surveyed in the 2007-2008 academic year; institutional data is updated annually.) “Only schools that permit us to independently survey their students are eligible to be considered,” Franek notes.

Dr. Mitchell Reiss, who became President of Washington College on July 1, says the student input helps make the list credible to its main audience: high school students facing the college admissions process. He’s optimistic that updated student input and data will bring even better news. “I think we’ll see our rankings continue to grow stronger every year,” he says. “This is a dynamic campus with a devoted faculty, and our students are constantly being offered new opportunities for growth and learning.”

Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and was founded with the support of George Washington. In 1782 he gave his name and pledged 50 guineas “as an earnest of my wishes for the prosperity of this seminary.” He also served briefly on its Board of Visitors and Governors before becoming the nation’s first president. Today, the College occupies 120 acres in historic Chestertown and offers 44 academic majors and programs.

The Princeton Review is headquartered in Framingham, MA, and New York City, and operates test preparation centers across the country. It is not affiliated with Princeton University, nor is it a magazine. Published by Random House, The Best 373 Colleges is the 19th edition of The Princeton Review’s annual guide. Washington College also is included in the “Best in the Northeast” section of the company’s recently posted website feature, “2011 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” and in The Best Northeastern Colleges: 2011 Edition, a print publication to be released August 10.

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