FORT KENT, Maine — It is a winning streak that has been maintained far away from the athletic fields and basketball courts, but students, faculty and staff at the University of Maine at Fort Kent could not be prouder of being selected a sixth time by The Princeton Review as one of the best colleges in the Northeast.
The Fort Kent college is one of 218 institutions The Princeton Review recommends in its “Best in the Northeast” section of its website feature, “2011 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” that was posted Aug. 2 on PrincetonReview.com.
The website has profiles of 623 schools that The Princeton Review recommends as “regional bests” across four locales — the Northeast, the Southeast, the Midwest, and the West.
The designation also means that UMFK will be profiled in The Princeton Review’s book, “The Best Northeastern Colleges: 2011 Edition” that will go on sale today.
“We could not have been happier to hear this news,” Wilson G. Hess, who took over as president of UMFK last month, said during a recent interview. “This is great news and it is a testament to what has been going on here for the last six years. This is a fine institution with fine programs, excellent staff and students who recognize the value of the education that they are getting here.”
According to officials at The Princeton Review, staffers reviewed hundreds of institutions in each region and primarily selected for their list colleges and universities that featured excellent academic programs.
They also took into account institutional data that they collected directly from the schools, the opinions of staff and what students attending the schools reported to them about their campus experiences on student surveys for the project.
Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president-publisher, said in a written statement that the nationally known education services company was “pleased to recommend UMFK to readers of our book and users of our site as one of the best schools to earn their undergrad degree.”
He said that student feedback was generated through an 80-question student survey designed for this project.
According to UMFK’s profile on the Princeton Review’s website, students at UMFK said that the college provides them with a high quality education at a state school with “very reasonable tuition.”
Students also said that Fort Kent’s location makes it “a natural choice for students of forestry, wildlife sciences, and environmental studies.”
The profile pointed out that UMFK students said that UMFK’s close proximity to the rich forests and waterways of the St. John Valley allow them to go on field trips just five minutes away from the campus and be “completely submerged in hands-on experiences that will aid students when filling out their resumes.”
“Business studies and nursing are also strong here,” it is noted on the website. “Of the latter, students brag that ‘The nursing program is one of the toughest in the state but the pass rate is very high. The professors are very good about assisting students in their work.’”
Hess said that the designation continues to be meaningful to UMFK officials year after year “because it is based on student responses.”
“They get this information by talking to students,” he said. “It is a real coup to have secured this designation six years in a row. I am new on board here, so this really speaks well to what [former president] Richard Cost did during his tenure here and the continued work of everyone here. The students really commended this place for its close-knit community and for the fact that they receive individual attention from their professors, and that the staff and the professors at UMFK care about them. It is really great to see.”