ALMA — Alma College recently received nods from national higher education guides, who tout the college for its “student-centered philosophy,” “caring faculty,” and “warm, inviting atmosphere,” among other plaudits.
“We’re thrilled to see national publications recognize the college for its academic quality, as well as the student life experiences we value so highly — exemplified well by the commitment of our faculty and staff to personal attention and student success, as well as a supportive residential environment,” Alma College President Jeff Abernathy said.
‘Best in the Midwest’
Alma College is one of the 158 best colleges in the Midwest, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company lists Alma in the Best in the Midwest section of its “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” website feature.
The Princeton Review website quotes Alma students, who say the college student body is made up of “a mix of students from all over the country, and the world … with a desire and willingness to learn.” The Alma College faculty “serve as a wealth of information” and “are more than willing to work with you on not only your academic issues, but personal issues as well,” according to the Review.
In its 2021 rankings, the Princeton Review identifies 655 colleges in five zones — Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West and International — as academically outstanding institutions of higher learning. The “best” lists are calculated from student survey results and institutional data.
The “Best in the Midwest” category has featured Alma College annually since the introduction of the ranking in 2004.
Colleges of Distinction
The 2020-21 edition of Colleges of Distinction highlights Alma College for excellence in classroom teaching and its high-impact student-centered programs — including undergraduate research, study abroad programs, internships, diversity and global learning programs, community-based learning programs and more.
It is the 14th consecutive year that Alma College has been recognized by the national guide.
“Each school is different, just as every student is different,” said Wes Creel, founder of Colleges of Distinction. “There is no number-one college for everyone, so we never rank those in our cohort. Alma’s inclusion is informed by the unique ways it commits to achieving success. … It’s inspiring to see Alma commit to the learning styles and community involvement that will best allow their students to thrive.”
Selected schools are required to adhere to four distinctions — engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes. The selection process also includes a review of each institution’s first-year experience, general education program, strategic plan, career development and satisfaction measures.
“Alma does not prescribe a formula for success; rather, it helps students discover their options and open the right doors. Perhaps the best thing about an Alma College education is its dedication to help students put the ideas and theories that they discuss in the classroom to work in real-world settings. Or maybe it’s the lifelong friendships and amazing memories that are made in the process,” Colleges of Distinction notes.
‘Best and Most Interesting’
Alma College is one of more than 300 schools highlighted in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2021. The college guide offers an annual in-depth analysis of the “best and most interesting” schools in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.
The publication describes Alma College as a school with strong student life experiences, academic quality, opportunities for hands-on learning and town/gown relations.
“Alma challenges students to take their learning beyond the classroom and around the globe, and with caring faculty — and ample funding for off-campus experiences — students feel supported every step of the way. While students enjoy their school’s warm, inviting atmosphere, they’re also eager to venture out, explore, and pursue their goals,” the Fiske Guide to Colleges states.
“Alma’s student-centered philosophy is exemplified by the Alma Commitment, which offers a promise that students will graduate on time … and a pledge that each interested student can undertake an experiential learning opportunity, such as an internship, research fellowship, or study abroad,” Fiske continues.
Compiled by former New York Times education editor Edward Fiske, the guide profiles the selected schools’ student body, academic quality, social life, financial aid, campus setting, housing, food and extracurricular activities.
The Fiske Guide has highlighted Alma College annually since 1986.