Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Whitworth named one of the best universities in the West by Princeton Review

University also featured in the Center for Student Opportunity’s 2011 College Access & Opportunity Guide

Whitworth University has been designated one of the best colleges and universities in the West in a recent college guide published by Princeton Review. In addition, Whitworth has been recognized in the Center for Student Opportunity's 2011 College Access & Opportunity Guide, a comprehensive guidebook uniquely designed to help low-income, first-generation college-bound students make their college dreams a reality.

Princeton Review, an education services company, ranked Whitworth among 120 institutions it recommends in the "Best in the West" section of its 2011 Best Colleges: Region by Region guide.

"We're pleased to recommend Whitworth and the other terrific institutions we name as 'regional best' colleges mainly for their excellent academic programs,'" says Robert Franek, Princeton Review's vice president of publishing. "We take into account what students at the schools reported to us about their campus experiences. Only schools that permit us to independently survey their students are eligible to be considered for our regional 'best' lists."

Princeton Review asks students attending the schools to rate their own schools on several issues -- from the accessibility of their professors to the quality of the campus food -- and answer questions about themselves, their fellow students, and their campus life. Comments from surveyed students pepper each Princeton Review college profile. Princeton Review also chooses schools based on institutional data it collects from several hundred schools in each region, on visits to schools, and on the opinions of independent and high school-based college advisors.

In the profile on Whitworth, students said the university offers "a solid liberal arts education in a spectacular setting" and a "very personable environment with a strong emphasis on Christian beliefs." One junior said, "Whitworth's mission is to provide an education of the mind and heart, and that is what I've gotten." Students also commended the small class sizes as "incredibly stimulating" and praised the school's one-month January Term for providing "amazing opportunities to travel abroad." They said that Whitworth has "very approachable professors who are here to teach," that professors' "passion is contagious" and that faculty members "really invest in relationships with students."

Princeton Review doesn't rank the colleges in its 2010 Best Colleges Region by Region website section. The 120 colleges that The Princeton Review chose for its "Best in the West" list are located in fifteen states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Princeton Review also designated 218 colleges in the Northeast, 152 in the Midwest, and 133 in the Southeast as best in their locales. The 623 colleges named "regional bests" constitute only about 25 percent of the nation's 2,500 four-year colleges.

Center for Student Opportunity's 2011 College Access & Opportunity Guide features 284 colleges and universities highlighted for their outreach efforts, financial aid opportunities and student support services. It also includes a four-step plan for students planning to go to college, developed by partners KnowHow2GO, as well as articles and advice from college students and other experts, and information for parents and mentors, including a new Spanish-language section.

According to the College Board, high-achieving students from low-income families have about the same chance of enrolling in college as low-achieving students from wealthier families. Still worse, a recent USA Today article notes that 90 percent of low-income, first-generation students who do make it to college leave within six years without a degree, partly because they don't encounter a supportive college environment.

"We are thrilled that Whitworth University is profiled in the 2011 College Access & Opportunity Guide," says Fred Pfursich, Whitworth's vice president of admissions and financial aid. "Our continuing commitment to offer excellent academic programs and to provide comprehensive student services to help all our students reach their full potential exemplifies our mind and heart mission.”

Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting higher education opportunities for first-generation and other historically underserved college-bound students. CSO programs serve colleges and universities, counselors, and community-based organizations in support of their college access goals. More information about CSO is available at http://www.csopportunity.org/.

Princeton Review (http://www.princetonreview.com/) is known for its tutoring and classroom test- preparation courses, books, and college and graduate school admission services. Its corporate headquarters is in Framingham, Mass., and its editorial offices are in New York City. It is not affiliated with Princeton University and it is not a magazine.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Contacts:

Greg Orwig, director of communications, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

Media Contacts for The Princeton Review: Leah Pennino, (508) 663-5133 (LPennino@Review.com), or Jeanne Krier, (212) 539-1350 (Jeanne@Jeannekrier.com).

Media Contact for the Center for Student Opportunity: Matt Rubinoff, (949) 481-0073 or mrubinoff@csopportunity.org.