UNCW among best colleges in national guides again

Shelby Purvis | Contributing Writer

 Every year, universities across the nation are scrutinized to see which ones make the cut as the best in the country.

 According to the Fiske Guide to Colleges and The Princeton Review, UNCW measures up this year yet again as one of these recommended colleges.

 The university is included for the fourth consecutive year in the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges, a compilation of over 300 of the “best and most interesting” universities in the nation, according to the guide. Since its original publication in the early 1980s by Edward Fiske, former education editor at the New York Times, it has become known as the most comprehensive, readable college resource book available.

 “In 2005, we first approached Ted Fiske and invited him to visit UNCW,” said Janice Rockwell, UNCW’s director of admissions. He was sure a visit was all it would take.

 Fiske visited the campus in 2008 but promised nothing, because the Fiske Guide is very selective–whenever a school is added to the guide, another must be dropped.

 However, he soon announced his decision to incorporate UNCW into his guide and started collecting detailed information about the school’s academic programs, housing and extracurricular offerings, as well as a variety of student surveys.

Other factors include the school’s demographics, average SAT and ACT scores, accessibilty of professors, and even social life of students at the university.

 The school was first introduced in the 2009 edition and has been included in the guide every year since.

 “This recognition is a testament to the extraordinary quality of our faculty and staff, who are committed to the journey of learning, the power of ideas and to our special place as North Carolina’s coastal university,” said Chancellor Gary Miller.

 UNCW is also included for the ninth consecutive year in The Princeton Review’s online list, “2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region.”

 They rate the schools based on information provided by student surveys, personal visits to the schools and data collected from the universities themselves.  They also garner data from university offices, such as the UNCW Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

 “Typically requested data often includes general information about the university, information about admissions for first-year, full-time freshmen and transfer students and information about academic programs, enrollment, tuition, fees, room and board, and financial aid,” said the office of institutional research and assessment.

 Like Fiske’s publication, The Princeton Review is considered a prestigious guide to the nation’s best colleges.

 UNCW is featured annually in their “Best in the Southeast” section. Collectively, the colleges named regional bests constitute only about 25 percent of the nation’s 2,500 four-year colleges.