Fairfield University ranks high in many newly published college guides

Fairfield University ranks high in many newly published college guides

Image: Fairfield campus Fairfield University, which has consistently ranked among the top universities in college rankings, has announced its standing in the 2011 college guide books.

Leading the pack this year is the U.S. News & World Report 's 2011 edition of "America's Best Colleges," which has Fairfield University tied for the number four spot among the Regional Universities-North. Since 1991, Fairfield has maintained the 2, 3, or 4 position, giving it a consistency of acknowledged quality appreciated by alumni and prospective students. Fairfield was also included in the lists, "Best Colleges: Best Values," and "A+ Options for B Students."

The 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges, called "the best college guide you can buy" by USA Today , said Fairfield "provides a dynamic living and learning environment, combining solid academics, real-world opportunities in and outside the classroom, and an abundance of community service projects." With no teaching assistants and 79 percent of classes with 19 or fewer students and none over 50, a sophomore says, "I have been spoiled with exceptional professors who are truly concerned with my development as a student."

The 2011 "Barron's Profiles of American Colleges" ranks Fairfield very competitive and says its special features include administering its own study abroad program in several countries as well as affiliations with many other international programs and a Washington semester. It also cited the 3-2 engineering degree offered with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Columbia University, Stevens Institute of Technology and the University of Connecticut. Barron's also listed Fairfield's interdisciplinary minors in a wide array of subjects and 18 national honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa.

The Sierra Club has weighed in with its list of the country's "Cool Schools."  The oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the nation named Fairfield to its list for its eco-friendly initiatives. In regards to the university's commitment to sustainability, Fairfield received high grades for its administration and purchasing policy, with academics and waste removal close behind.

Among other college guides weighing in on what Fairfield has to offer:

"What Will They Learn?" Based on core curriculum requirements, this college comparison, a project of ACTA, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, gives Fairfield a solid B, while many peer institutions scored C or D. Considered in the comparison are seven core subjects.

The Princeton Review 's "The Best 373 Colleges," which consists of about 15% of America's 2,500 four-year colleges and two Canadian colleges, also tapped Fairfield. The 373 schools are profiled, but not ranked, in the book. The Princeton Review includes lists on mostly social issues for which it relies on the comments of students who choose to respond to its survey

Fairfield is also included in Forbes ' "America's Best Colleges." Just in its third year of publishing, the rankings of the best schools are said to be "from the students' point of view," basing 25 percent of their rankings, for instance, on the website RateMyProfessors.com .

The 2010-11 College Salary Report by PayScale reports on the best colleges and degrees for subsequent lifetime earnings. Fairfield University is listed with a starting median salary of $50,100 and a mid-career median salary of $104,000, coming out ahead of universities such as Columbia University, Villanova, and Loyola University Maryland.

Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., senior academic vice president at Fairfield, said while there is always some fluctuation in placement among the top tier schools, he is pleased that there has been a consistency to Fairfield's remaining among the highest ranked schools for so many years. "It is always difficult to rank or rate something as complex as a college education. How do you quantify the one-to-one mentoring that our professors provide students on a daily basis, or the value of a student conducting research with a science professor who has been awarded an NIH grant for cancer research?"

Guidebooks, he said, can point prospective students and their parents to schools that seem to have the programs in which they are interested, but a visit to campus is invaluable. "That's where you start to get the real sense of a campus. At Fairfield, we offer an outstanding liberal arts core with professional schools, founded on our nearly 500-year-old Jesuit tradition. Our emphasis is on great teaching scholars, holistic advising, integrated education, and an increasingly diverse campus culture. With new student residence halls being constructed to support the integration of living and learning and our ideal location an hour outside New York City, there is an energy and momentum that can only be experienced by visiting Fairfield's campus."

For more about Fairfield University and its programs, please visit www.fairfield.edu .

Posted On: 08-18-2010 10:08 AM

Volume: 43 Number: 22