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I've heard they have the best academics out of the Christian(non-catholic) colleges for engineering.
Conventional college rankings, such as those of USN&WR, often put Calvin in a higher tier than GCC.
This statement is incorrect when looking at the college as a whole. GCC is a much more selective and higher ranked college than Calvin and attracts a higher caliber of students overall.
With respect to engineering only, I can not comment
Based on the stats at collegeboard.com, GCC does appear to be more selective than Calvin. However, the most popular college guide in the country, from US News and World Report, still rates Calvin significantly higher. They currently have Calvin as #112 in the National Liberal Arts College ranking, while GCC is classified as "Tier 3". This difference reflects the fact that selectivity is only one of the factors addressed in the USN&WR rankings.
Their really is no valid reason I can think of why USN"WR would have one as a Tier 3 and the other as #112 overall
my only comment here would be to use caution in using the USN&WR rankings for anything. They are based on some limited factors and do not always yield good results.
The advice offered here of go and see, talk, really ask TOUGH, non-softball questions and listen for genuine answers. Talk to kids. Many kids. Talk to profs and challenge them to candor, that which they've allegedly been trained to pursue. Take cheerleading for what it is. Another attempt to get you and yours to spend more time and money than most of us will on any other purchase in our entire lives. Visit and spend some time on those places that seem to make more sense than others.