July 11, 2023 | Matt Kucinski

Three students (left) working in an engineering lab with safety glasses on, a Fiske Badge (right).

The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2024 edition applauds Calvin University for the strength of its engineering program and calls out its hallmarks of integrating faith and learning and faculty-student interaction.

Compiled by former New York Times education editor Edward B. Fiske, Fiske Guide to Colleges is a selective, subjective, and systematic look at 300-plus colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, and the UK.

In its 40th edition, the guidebook’s editors shortlisted Calvin University on its “Small Colleges and Universities Strong in Engineering” category. Calvin’s program was one of only 16 on that list, and one of only two in the state of Michigan called out in the guidebook for its strong engineering program—the other being the University of Michigan in the “Public Universities Strong in Engineering” category.

Faith and learning

“There are a lot of small Christian schools in the United States and a lot of schools with really great engineering programs,” said Nate Anderson, a 2023 graduate of Calvin University from Minneapolis, Minnesota. “But if you look at the Venn diagram of the two different categories, there’s almost nothing in the middle.”

The commitment to integrating faith with strong academic offerings is a hallmark of a Calvin education and a reason students from nearly 60 countries and almost every U.S. state choose to attend the private institution in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Fiske editors note in the guidebook that “Calvin is founded on the belief that every subject—even the sciences or mass media and popular culture—can be approached from a Christian perspective, and faculty members work hard to integrate faith and learning.”

“I’ve seen that in every single class. I see how they [my professors] really do know how to tie everything into faith, even the core classes we must take,” said Noro Dung, a junior computer science major from Nigeria. “I ended up appreciating those things, having a little knowledge in every single subject area and knowing how each connects to Christ.”

High expectations and high support

In the guidebook, students talk about Calvin as having high academic expectations and offering a high level of support, with the guidebook editors noting that “students give high ratings to peer tutoring and mental health counseling services.”

Fiske also notes that “professors are expected to reserve about 10 hours per week for advising and assisting students outside of class.” And those conversations aren’t merely about the material being covered in class.

Teachers and guides

“I am surprised how accessible my professors are,” said Kenna Hiemstra, a sophomore from Southern California. “They are super open, have office hours, and invite students to stop by anytime. It’s so cool.”

[Professor Heun] helped me understand some of the most difficult courses I had so far, but more than the coursework, it is the influence, direction, and wisdom that he poured into me,” said an engineering alum about one of her professors.

“When I toured Calvin, we went to talk with a chemistry professor, and he sat down with my dad and I in his office in the middle of a day when classes were happening, and he just walked us through one of the chemistry classes, made us feel like we weren’t just a random college recruit, number per se,” said Miles O’Bryan from Glendale, California, who is transferring to Calvin from another private Midwest school this fall. “He could have just said, ‘good to see you, I’m the chem professor,’ but he sat and talked with us, really made me feel like I was seen, like I wasn’t a number.”

About Fiske Guide to Colleges

For 40 years, the Fiske Guide to Colleges has aimed to help prospective students and their families discover the real personality of top colleges and universities based on a broad range of subjects, including student body, academics, social life, financial aid, campus setting, housing, food, and extracurricular activities.

In addition to the guidebook, Fiske is also available as an iPad app on iTunes and a web program on CollegeCountdown.com. Fiske Interactive allows families to go beyond the book by viewing photos of each campus, creating school lists, and taking virtual notes.

Edward B. Fiske served for 17 years as education editor of the New York Times, where he realized that college-bound students and their families needed better information on which to base their educational choices. He is also the coauthor of the Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College and Fiske Real College Essays That Work.

About Calvin University

Founded in 1876, Calvin University is a top-ranked, liberal arts institution that equips its more than 3,200 students from 48 U.S. states, nearly 60 countries, and five Canadian provinces to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. Calvin offers 100+ majors and programs, including a growing portfolio of graduate-level offerings. Calvin students engage in intensive internships, community-based service learning, and significant research that results in publishing and presenting alongside world-class faculty. The university’s 400-acre campus is in the vibrant city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Discover more at www.calvin.edu.

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