September 16, 2015 | Lynn Rosendale

Calvin College is again ranked among the top colleges and universities in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges Guidebook. Overall, Calvin remains in the top tier of schools rated in the survey and ranks 120th among National Liberal Arts Colleges

Among the categories where Calvin was recognized in the report was Most Students Studying Abroad (10th). Being recognized as a leader in off-campus studies is not surprising to Don De Graaf, Calvin’s director of off-campus programs.

“Calvin's desire is to challenge students to ask hard questions and to think profoundly about their place in the world,” said De Graaf. “Getting out in that world is the best way to do that, and the culture at Calvin is very supportive of that.”

Offering more than 40 opportunities to study off-campus from a semester in Ghana to a three-week interim experience studying business in India, Calvin provides students with the possibility of numerous life-changing adventures. Each year, more than 800 of Calvin’s 3,800+ students study off-campus, with 75 percent of graduating students having participated in such an experience.

“We want it to be more than just, ‘What’s on your bucket list?’ said De Graaf. “We want it to be an opportunity to make this a deeper experience. How are you building your own story? How is God calling you to His story? It’s a different mindset than, ‘I want to see all of the capitals of Europe.’”

That depth of pursuit fits into Calvin’s educational mission of inspiring students to think deeply, act justly and live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.

“Off-campus experiences can create opportunities to see both the wonders and the injustices of this world,” said De Graaf.

The U.S. News rankings are based on a number of factors including assessment by peers and high school counselors, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving rate.

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