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Bethel featured in “Colleges of Distinction”

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College is one of only two schools in Kansas to be profiled in the newly released 2008-09 edition of Colleges of Distinction.

Unlike traditional numeric-based college guidebooks, Colleges of Distinction recognizes and appeals to students’ unique interests, realizing what may be the best college for one student can be vastly different than for another. “Instead of looking for the richest or the most famous schools,” the introduction says, “we ask about what really matters: Which colleges are the best places to learn, to grow and to succeed?”

Approximately 40 colleges in each of six geographical regions in the United States were selected to meet four key criteria: engaged students; great teaching; vibrant communities; and successful outcomes. These are the “hidden gems” of higher education institutions as determined by a review board of academicians, guidance counselors and parents.

To be listed as a “college of distinction,” an institution must be nationally recognized by education professionals as an excellent school; strongly focused on teaching undergraduates; home to a wide variety of innovative learning experiences; an active campus with many opportunities for personal development; and highly valued by graduate schools and employers for its outstanding preparation.

“It is always gratifying when our strengths are recognized by outside groups,” said Bethel College President Barry C. Bartel. “We are pleased to be identified in this select group as a ‘college of distinction.’

“This resource promises to be a useful way to help students and parents understand the core and substance of what provides distinction in the education we offer at Bethel College,” he continued. “The characteristics identified by Colleges of Distinction truly do make a difference in helping students excel.”

Colleges of Distinction also recognized Benedictine College, Atchison, as “a higher learning institution that is devoted to a superior educational experience.”

“The schools in this group are some of the very best in the country,” said Wesley L. Creel, president and founder of Colleges of Distinction. “Some are household names and some are hidden in plain sight. What they all share is that they are great places to get an education.”

College seekers can also visit the Colleges of Distinction Web site at to learn more about featured schools, including Bethel College. Visitors can also find tips from high school guidance counselors and essays from college students, presidents and other members of different campus communities.

Student Horizons, Inc. of Bethesda, Md., which produces Colleges of Distinction, is a digital services company devoted to higher education. Founded in 2002 by concerned parents and admissions professionals, its mission is to enable students to find colleges and universities that appeal to and complement their unique personalities and aspirations.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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