Every year, U.S. News & World Report releases a list of "America's Best Colleges," which measures institution's success on twelve different factors. Last week, the 2017 rankings were released and Chapman University climbed one spot in its category to number 6 among 124 Western four-year institutions. Chapman was also one of two Western schools to be recognized as "Most Innovative" in terms of curriculum, campus life, and a variety of other factors.

Seeing Chapman continue to innovate and push for growth in the academic and personal lives of its students over the past three years has made for an exciting and intriguing college experience. Things change constantly on our campus, but there is always an appreciation and celebration of the traditions that make Chapman the institution that it is.

Four years ago, when I was deciding what university I would attend, I bounced a lot of factors around during my decision-making process. When it came down to my final two choices, I was deciding between Chapman and a large, very well known state school. I ultimately chose Chapman for the intimate and personal size and the abundance of opportunity that would be at my fingertips.

Three years ago, no one knew what Chapman was. When I told people where I was going to college, I had to explain to them that Chapman was this small private school in Old Town Orange (no, not just in Orange County) that was mainly known for their film school and its proximity to Disneyland. Now, I'm witnessing the construction of state-of-the-art buildings for the arts and sciences, the integration of cross-cultural and diversity and inclusion initiatives, and the attraction of incredible resources that provide for more learning opportunities for Chapman students.

There is a reason that Chapman is ranked the sixth best Western-region college. Chapman University pushes its students, staff, and faculty to explore and develop their academic, spiritual, physical, and social lives in everything that they do on and around our campus. We are encouraged to celebrate what makes us unique and explore our identities in the safe spaces provided on campus. Our individual triumphs are celebrated and our individual troubles are acknowledged and validated. Chapman's a great place to be, and it's still just a ten-minute drive to Disneyland.

For more information on the U.S. News & World Report rankings, visit: http://www.usnews.com/info/blogs/press-room/articl...