Willamette University Featured Among ‘Best 371 Colleges’

Willamette University is "academically rigorous," intimate and "seriously gorgeous," according to the 2010 edition of The Princeton Review's popular guidebook, "The Best 371 Colleges." The annual guide, released this week, names Willamette as one of the country's best universities for undergraduate education.

Only about 15 percent of America's 2,500 four-year colleges and two Canadian colleges are profiled in the book, which includes detailed profiles with school rating scores in eight categories. Selection for the guide is based primarily on outstanding academics, in addition to institutional data, feedback from current students, input from Princeton Review staff members who visit the colleges, and independent college counselors.

In the profile on Willamette, The Princeton Review praises the school for its "outstanding" academic programs that include the sciences, a "great focus" on the arts, a popular Japanese studies program and a "highly acclaimed politics program." Students surveyed for the book said Willamette's "small class sizes allow lots of discussion and personal attention," undergraduate research opportunities help students work with faculty members on the kinds of projects reserved for graduate students at most other schools, and professors are "very involved with students' lives" and are "responsive to the needs of students."

"We appreciate The Princeton Review's recognition of our outstanding academic program," says David Douglass, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "We are pleased by this validation of our challenging curriculum and significant faculty engagement that leads to exceptional results for our students."

The Princeton Review also rated Willamette 93 for academics and 97 for admissions selectivity, on a scale of 60 to 99. The ratings are based largely on institutional data The Princeton Review collected during the 2008-09 academic year.

The Princeton Review posts all the school profiles and ranking lists in "The Best 371 Colleges" on its website, where users can read FAQs about the book, the survey and the criteria for each of the ratings and rankings.