For the 19th consecutive year, Winona State University ranks among the “Best in the Midwest” according to the Princeton Review.  

The Princeton Review recognized 655 colleges in the “2023 Best Colleges: Region by Region” publication. WSU was listed among 158 colleges in the Midwestern list.  

Colleges included in the list are considered “academically outstanding and well worth consideration” in prospective students’ college search, according to the Princeton Review website.  

Student surveys were also considered in the criteria for the accolade. The comments below were featured on Winona State’s profile on The Princeton Review’s website.


  • Winona State offers a “quality education that is affordable.”  
  • Students praise WSU for “preparing students for the workplace” by helping them to develop career-relevant skills “while still encouraging them to be innovative.”
  • Prominent nursing and education programs underscore what some students describe as WSU’s educational prerogative: “to help students gain the necessary skills to help us go out and make an impact upon the world.”  
  • Small class sizes “allow professors to get to know their students on a more personal level.”  
  • “Professors work hard to be available” outside of class time. Students value this kind of attention because, as one student puts it, “the more my professors interact and connect with me, the better my academic experience and success.” 
  • “(Professors) honestly do care about their students,” one student explains, “and they are always there to connect [students] with what they need” from class material to “finding jobs and internships.”  
  • “We may be a small school, but we do great things.” 

Student Body 

  • Students are “very friendly and passionate about their education and ambitions,” and “most students are willing to help each other.”  
  • “Students are involved in a wide variety of areas of study. Computer science students are involved in creative writing clubs, English students run the video game club, and more than half of the students in the symphonic wind ensemble are not music majors.”  
  • “All seem to be like a family here at Winona and can come together as our own little community.” 

Campus Life 

  • Many Winona students embrace the outdoors, fishing on the Mississippi River, hiking through the local bluffs, and running and biking on the paved lake paths. In the winter the bluffs make great “cross country ski trails” and “the lake is cleared off to ice skate.”  
  • The small town of Winona “allows for bicycles as a great means of transportation.”  
  • Many students also say that volunteering through clubs or weekly volunteer opportunities on campus is popular among students. “For such a small student body compared to many other universities,” one student explains, “Winona State has a large social impact on the surrounding area and many of the clubs and organizations are extremely good at what they do.”  

About Winona State University 

Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive, regional public university with campuses in Winona and Rochester. The oldest member of the Minnesota State system, WSU offers more than 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate and doctorate programs in five colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing & Health Sciences, and Science & Engineering. 

Winona State is ranked among the Top 40 universities in the Midwest region (U.S. News and World Report, 2022-23) and has been named among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review for 19 consecutive years. The University generates $447.9 million in economic impact for the region per year. The university’s mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities it serves: a community of learners improving our world. For more information, visit