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Top 10 in Philadelphia Area

To people who know us, the Wall Street Journal's decision to include Widener University on its top 10 list of best Philadelphia-area colleges is no surprise.

"Over the course of my four years, it became more and more apparent that my alma mater was among the best in preparing young adults for successful, impactful careers," said 2016 biology graduate Andrew Cenophat. "There's a true focus on what each student's strengths are, and professors use those strengths to propel students forward."

The newspaper published a rankings report this fall that narrowed the nation's more than 4,700 schools down to the 500 best, based on a host of criteria that included engagement, resources and career preparation. It processed its data more extensively this month, announcing the top-10 Philadelphia area schools. Widener was ranked ninth on that list, and 252 out of the national pool of top 500 schools.

The newspaper undertook the rankings project in collaboration with Times Higher Education, a business entity once owned by News Corp, parent of Dow Jones & Co., which owns the Wall Street Journal.

Rankings were based on four categories: school resources, engagement, outcomes and environment. The analysis included a survey of 100,000 college students as well as an examination of factors like student-to-faculty ratios, costs, salaries 10 years after entering the school and more.

In addition to the rankings, the newspaper gave Widener a score of 8.7 out of 10 on a question that asked students whether their Widener education will prepare them for their careers.

Communications studies major Chase Morrison said he was proud to see the school ranked this way. "A leading university should be an exemplar force of its community, a catalyst for progress and philanthropy, and an outlet for intellectual and personal growth. Widener is all these things," he said.

Widener President Julie E. Wollman said she was delighted to see Widener on the list, particularly since the school has more than 100 competitors in the crowded Philadelphia-area higher education market.

"It is gratifying to see such a distinguished news organization recognize us this way. Widener offers an outstanding academic experience, with close personal attention, a multitude of opportunities for hands-on learning and leadership development. We are a best choice," she said.