DURHAM, N.C., Nov. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading Christian higher education resource, Christian Universities Online ( http://www.christianuniversitiesonline.org/), has published a ranking of the 10 Best Christian Colleges and Universities in the North 2017 ( http://www.christianuniversitiesonline.org/10-best-christian-colleges-and-universities-in-the-north-2017/?rank_page=1). Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, claimed the top spot on the list. Grove City College of Grove City, Pennsylvania, came in second, and Eastern University of Saint Davids, Pennsylvania, ranked third. Other schools making the list include (in alphabetical order): Eastern Nazarene College - Quincy, MassachusettsGeneva College - Beaver Falls, PennsylvaniaGordon College - Wenham, MassachusettsHoughton College - Houghton, New YorkRoberts Wesleyan College - Rochester, New YorkWaynesburg University - Waynesburg, PennsylvaniaYork College - York, Nebraska The methodology for this regional ranking began by taking the schools that are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) or able to be considered member eligible. All of the schools are located in what would be considered the Northern geographical region of the U.S. Christian Universities Online then took the overall best data used in their national ranking, which includes publicly available data in the following categories: 1) faculty-to-student ratio; 2) percent of full-time beginning undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid; 3) selectivity; 4) overall retention rate; and 5) overall graduation rate. Lastly, the data sets were standardized, weights were assigned to each of these categories, and an overall score was calculated. Anna-Rebekah Orr, site editor at Christian Universities Online, states that the goal of the ranking is to highlight schools that excel in their overall educational offerings within a specific geographic region. Orr goes on to say, "Location may not be the primary criteria for selecting a school, but it is relevant in the decision-making process. There can be external factors that limit opportunities--such as travel to and from campus or climate considerations--and these can weigh heavily upon the selection process." Orr states that there are many high quality Christian colleges and universities across the country and most students are sensitive to a host of factors when deciding on a school. Geography is, without a doubt, a broad but important category students consider when selecting a school. More than just a subset of the top fifty, these schools are first separated geographically, and the ranking criteria applied anew. The result is a shortlist of high quality educational institutions within a region for students and their families to consider. Like other rankings by Christian Universities Online, this ranking seeks to highlight intentionally Christian colleges and universities that excel in categories of personal attention to their students, selectivity, readily available financial aid and overall student satisfaction. Orr adds, "CUO understands how important a decision this is and offers this ranking as a tool to help guide the decision-making process."