September 12, 2017 8:00AM
For U.S. News, the Midwest includes the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
In determining the rankings, the publication considers factors such as peer assessment, first-year student retention rates, graduation rates, class size, student-faculty ratio, SAT and ACT scores, acceptance rates and alumni giving.
The rankings noted that at PSU, the student-faculty ratio is 18:1, and 44.8 percent of its classes have fewer than 20 students. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 73 percent.
The rankings also noted that PSU offers numerous student services, including nonremedial tutoring, placement services, and health services, as well as campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access.
Those who work and learn on campus say they weren't surprised by the announcement — not because PSU has been on the list so many times in the past, but because of their first-hand knowledge of what they believe makes the university one of the best.
For Jacob Lehman, that included state-of-the-art equipment and hands-on learning. As a prospective student in mechanical engineering, he visited other universities and then visited PSU's Kansas Technology Center.
"There was no comparison," he said. "It had nice, well-equipped labs which was very exciting to me. I was always a hands-on person, so that was very appealing."
He liked it so much, he became a faculty member at the KTC and enjoys providing students with the same kind of learning he had.
Sage Brown, who earned a Bachelor's of Art in Psychology in December 2016, said the university helped him to grow into his professional life.
"I met so many different people from so many different cultural backgrounds, and this allowed me to be both competent and effective in the metropolitan professional world where I now work," Brown said.
Howard Smith, associate vice president for enrollment management and student success, said a recent comment by Marisa Page, a student in graphic communications, made to him "summed it up perfectly."
"She said, 'The professors aren't being nice for the day. They actually, genuinely care about you and about your grades, your life and your future'," Smith recalled. "To me, that's what we're referring to in our mission statement when we say Pitt State provides a transformational experience for our students."
The "Best Colleges 2018" guidebook, available for pre-order, will start shipping on Sept. 25 and be in stores on Oct. 10.