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Dordt College makes "Best in the Midwest" list

September 2, 2003

Dordt College has been named among the Best in the Midwest by The Princeton Review. Dordt College is one of the 150 schools from 11 Midwestern states profiled in the very first edition of The Best Midwestern Colleges.The goal of the guidebook is to identify some of the colleges and universities that stand out within each region and, in particular, to raise awareness of many schools that are less well-known outside of their region. Best in the Midwest

This goal is accomplished by surveying students, asking 70 questions about their school’s academics, campus life and student body, as well as their study hours, politics and opinions. According to Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s lead author of the guide, “Each college had to meet two criteria. First it had to meet our criteria for academic excellence within its region. Second, we had to be able to survey its students anonymously, either through our online survey or our paper survey which we distribute and collect on campuses.” Input from students attending the colleges provides extensive and candid feedback about what surveyed students think of the schools they are attending.

Only 10 other private colleges in the state of Iowa made the Best in the Midwest list. They are Buena Vista in Storm Lake; Central in Pella; Clarke in Dubuque; Coe in Cedar Rapids; Cornell in Mount Vernon, Drake in Des Moines; Grinnell in Grinnell; Luther in Decorah; Morningside in Sioux City and Wartburg in Waverly.

On a scale of 60-100, Dordt’s quality of life ranking was 72, based on answers student gave concerning their overall happiness, the beauty of the campus, safety, etc. Dordt scored 76 in academics, based on both student opinions (hours they said they studied, their ratings of professors) and technical data (GPA and SAT scores). An admissions ranking of 74 was derived from data such as class rank and test scores of accepted applicants; while a financial aid score of 85 was based on both student satisfaction with financial aid offered them and statistical data.

Regarding Dordt’s student body, Best in the Midwestsays the following:

“Dordt undergraduates appreciate their supportive and amiable community. Writes one, ‘The student body here is the biggest reason that I chose this school. There is a general attitude of friendship and kindness all across campus that one cannot miss even if only here for a one-day visit. Since the school has only about 1,400 students, it is very easy to get to know a great number of people.’ Students note that ‘the only area that the school lacks in is racial diversity. It is something that they are working on and showing some improvement in, but they still have a ways to go.’ Some caution that ‘students are a bit cliquish, although they seem to be nice on the outside. Getting along is usually not a problem on the classroom/assignments level.’ “

Regarding academics, the following is the finding of Best in the Midwest:

“Students who choose Dordt College do so most often because they appreciate ‘the school’s emphasis on developing your spiritual life as well as other aspects of your personality. The school really focuses on developing your worldview and on making faith a part of every facet of life.’ As one happy undergrad put it, ‘I love learning at my school. While being able to learn about things from the perspective of Christian profs, they do not force feed. They teach us to think for ourselves and try to discover the truth.’ The Dordt approach emphasizes the Christian perspective throughout the curriculum; as school literature states, students here are ‘required to study history, philosophy, and contemporary problems in order to gain insight into how mankind has responded to God’s call to service within his creation. Through this requirement, students are challenged to discern the spirits of the age and to work for genuine reformation in culture and society.’ Students describe a nurturing atmosphere at Dordt; reports one, ‘The greatest strengths of Dordt are the social atmosphere and overall care for the well-being of the student body by the staff.’ They also brag that their school ‘has a great off-campus program in many different countries that is available to a majority of the students.’ “

Regarding campus life, Best in the Midwest said:

“Sioux Center, hometown to Dordt College, is not exactly a bustling metropolis, students concede. ‘Life is mostly boring, since the town is tiny,’ writes one student. Many undergraduates here, however, find plenty of ways to fill their time. ‘Besides classes and studying,’ explains one, ‘the intramural sports are popular, as well as many other opportunities for community service and other interaction with the community.’ Elaborates another, ‘My life at school is very social and very involved. I have had a chance to participate in Student Forum, photography club, peer tutoring, as well as psychology club and a job working for security. Fun often involves a group of friends and a great movie, or a trip to Sioux City for a good-sized town.’ Undergrads tell us that ‘The school’s activity committee does a great job of putting on events and such to give students things to do, such as coffeehouses with live original student music, or a dance, or a movie showing followed by a discussion about the film.’ Facility expansion means that soon Dordt students will have more extracurricular options; reports one, ‘The school is already working hard on making this school a better place to be with current work being done on a completely new student center as well as a pool and ice rink complex.’ “

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