Colleges of Distinction recently named SUNY Oswego to its 2017-18 listing, citing such character-building opportunities at the college as undergraduate research, a wide variety of internships and co-ops, community service and alternative breaks, intensive writing courses and tutoring, interdisciplinary programs, and an array of international learning options.

"We are honored to name SUNY Oswego as a 2017-18 College of Distinction for its continued commitment to student success," said Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer for Colleges of Distinction, publisher of the guidebook and website for college-bound students and their parents as well as for guidance counselors and college admissions officers across the United States.

"Colleges of Distinction applauds Oswego for pushing the envelope with its up-to-date curriculum, enriching the college experience with high-impact educational practices, and providing every student with an education that stretches far beyond what's typically required from an academic major," he said.

The college's profile in the "2018 Colleges of Distinction Guidebook" says, "SUNY Oswego's dynamic, interactive, and supportive environment excites students to tackle a breadth of liberal arts studies alongside their career-directed majors. The possibilities are endless with an extensive choice of academic options, outstanding faculty, and challenging courses that encourage an active exchange of ideas. Oswego opens a door to the future with a large offering of internships, co-ops, service-learning, and study abroad, all of which consistently rate among the highest in the SUNY system."

'Highly rated experiences'

The profile makes specific mention of the college's nationally recognized First-Year Residential Experience program, centered on Johnson Hall and its 240 incoming students. "This program aims to support students throughout their first year of college and prepare them for their future years at the university," the guidebook notes. "And, after the first year, students can also take part in other community-building residence halls. Living and learning communities have students live in the same residence halls and take common classes with others who have similar interests, providing them a constant stream of opportunities to make connections with those around them."

Oswego's "dynamic, interactive and supportive environment" is enhanced by its mix of historically renovated and newly constructed facilities on 700 acres along the shores of Lake Ontario with its world-renowned sunsets, the publication said. The college's 7,100 undergraduates enjoy relatively small class sizes -- there is a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio -- and more than 110 major and minor programs of study.

"Highly rated experiences outside the classroom include a vibrant student involvement culture, plentiful internships, and a world of study abroad options that open doors to personal growth, career development, and the many moments that make Oswego so loved by its tens of thousands of proud alumni," Colleges of Distinction notes.

Colleges of Distinction points out that Oswego has more than 200 student clubs and organizations, NCAA athletics in 24 sports, worldwide options for study-travel with durations from a couple of weeks to a year, 83,000 alumni who include such luminaries as NBC's Al Roker and ESPN's Steve Levy and Linda Cohn, and recent internships across nearly every profession with such employers as Walt Disney World, PwC, the Federal Aviation Administration, the New York Yankees and the major television networks.

"SUNY Oswego is small enough for anyone to make quality connections with faculty and fellow students while still being big enough to provide many avenues to unlimited horizons," the guidebook says.

Colleges of Distinction uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative information in evaluating colleges and universities that are nominated by high school college counselors, college administrative members, and the Colleges of Distinction selection team. The organization interviews college admission experts, senior administration, faculty, alumni, and current students at each nominated college. Feedback comes from administrators at other colleges and high school counselors across the country.

The publisher uses a range of quantitative data such as graduation rates, classroom size, and other key statistics that speak to what it calls the "Four Distinctions": engaged students, great faculty, vibrant community and successful outcomes.

"Colleges of Distinction is much more than an annual ranking of colleges and universities," Schritter said. "Our goal is to select the best schools that are 100 percent focused on the student experience, and producing the most well-rounded graduates that are prepared for a global society and economy. Becoming a College of Distinction, like SUNY Oswego, is proof that the institutions we select are fully invested in their students' success, beginning on day one, and continuing through the rest of their lives."