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CSU Stanislaus named among best colleges for sixth-straight year
Ranking based on student feedback
CSUS research week
Students and faculty members tour the BioAg Garden at California State University, Stanislaus. The university was ranked high by students in The Princeton Review for its environmentalism, among other things. - photo by Journal file photo

For the sixth consecutive year, California State University, Stanislaus has been named among the best undergraduate colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review.

“We are delighted to be included in the Princeton Review for the sixth-straight year,” said CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani. “The honor is a strong testament to the outstanding work being done by our faculty and staff.”

Just the top 15 percent of colleges are profiled in “The Best 376 Colleges,” an annual guide published by The Princeton Review. Only one other CSU campus – Sonoma State University – was featured in the book.

The University of California, Merced was not included in the book, but UCs in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Davis, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz were featured.

The featured campuses are chosen based on their academic merit, and also to illustrate a large cross-section of schools in different regions and environments, said Rob Franek, author of the book and senior vice president of The Princeton Review.

But the ranking isn’t based on Franek’s personal experiences.

“We’re yielding to who we think are the college experts – current college students,” Franek said.

All data in the book is based on student feedback, gathered directly from students by The Princeton Review. CSU Stanislaus students “lavished praise” on their access to professors, the small-but-growing residential community, and experiential learning programs which connect students to local businesses, Franek said.

The profile of CSU Stanislaus also cites its excellent nursing, criminal justice and psychology programs, and “one of the best teacher credential programs in California.” Students are said to receive a “practical education” with small class sizes and direct access to friendly, well-educated, well-written professors.

“When students stop in to ask a question, the professors stop what they are doing and give their full attention to the student,” an unnamed student states in the profile.

CSU Stanislaus was also highly rated for its quality of life, fire safety and environmentalism.

Drawbacks noted in the profile are the City of Turlock – “a small town” with “not a ton of things to do” – and commuters’ difficulty in integrating into campus life. State budget problems are also noted, having led to past course cancellations and recent tuition increases of more than 20 percent.

“Budget cuts have made this tough for a lot of students, and many of my friends will now have to attend the college for an additional year to graduate,” a student told The Princeton Review.

The guide does not rank colleges from 1 to 376 overall, but CSU Stanislaus earned a top 20 ranking in three of 62 lists included in the guide: 11th on “Financial Aid Not So Great,” 18th on “Got Milk? (beer usage reported low)” and 19th in “Best Health Services.” The college also was selected among the best 25 percent of four-year colleges in the Western United States.

“Our goal is not to crown one college ‘best’ overall, but to help applicants find and get in to the college best for them,” Franek said. 

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.