The University of Mount Olive has been nationally recognized by the Colleges of Distinction for the integrity of its individualized and engaging education.

Colleges of Distinction’s selection process consists of detailed interviews and research for each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts, alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan and student satisfaction.

Schools are accepted based on adherence to the four distinctions of engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.

The award is considered unique among popular college guide classifications, which typically rank schools on the basis of numbers, like the size of endowment, selectivity and faculty salaries.

UMO earns its recognition for excellence exhibited in the classroom and by incorporating high-impact practices throughout every student’s undergraduate education.

“We are so proud to see the University of Mount Olive walking the walk,” said Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer for Colleges of Distinction. “Colleges of Distinction knows that a truly valuable education can’t be measured by rank or reputation.

“Students learn and thrive best when they embrace hands-on learning in a vibrant, welcoming community. That’s why it’s so encouraging to find the University of Mount Olive take such an innovative approach with its curriculum — its high-impact educational practices ensure that the undergraduate experience is worthwhile and unique.”

The website and annual guidebooks provide dynamic college profiles, customized tools, and resources for students, parents and high school counselors, Schritter said.

Since 2000, the Colleges of Distinction website and guidebook have honored schools throughout the U.S. for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education. The cohort of schools in the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their focus on the undergraduate experience.

Such student-centered programs include:

• Teacher education programs, which intentionally connect students to real world classroom experience beginning during their freshman year. Progressive levels of engagement ensure that students are well prepared for internships.

• A full-functioning teaching farm to support the School of Agricultural and Biological Sciences. Students majoring in one of the agricultural majors will graduate with a range of agriculture industry certifications.

• An expanded First Year Experience program designed to build student connections with all the support services provided by the university. As part of the Learning Commons, FYE leaders partner with academic advisers to help recognize potential obstacles to student success early and link students to the support they need.

“Colleges of Distinction doesn’t rank schools, because we know that every student is different in what they need to best learn, grow and succeed,” Schritter said. “Instead, we value schools that embrace those differences.

“The University of Mount Olive puts the student experience first, providing all the tools and opportunities they need to become lifelong learners who are ready to take on any challenge in today’s ever-evolving society.”