Princeton Review, a private corporation that specializes in testing, admissions and rankings of colleges, released its 25th edition of “The Best 381 Colleges” in August.
Elon University in Elon, North Carolina takes home No. 1 for “Best-Run College” as well as No. 3 in the “Most Beautiful Campus” and “Most Popular Study Abroad Program.” Elon took four other prestigious rankings, as well.
The University of Wisconsin—Madison took back the title of “best party school” since losing it in 2005. This is the 22nd year that UW has been in the top 20 of “best party schools.” Best party schools are based on students' answers to alcohol use on campus, low daily study hours, and the high popularity of Greek life on campus.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass) once again was recognized for “best campus food.” UMass claimed its title with the most positive responses on the surveys to the question, “How do you rate the food on campus?” UMass Amherst was ranked 10th in 2012, third in 2013 and 2014, and second in 2015 and 2016. According to UMass News, the school's dining facilities are the largest college operation in the country, serving 45,000 daily meals, or 5.5 million per year.
Vassar University in Poughkeepsie, New York took the prize for “best financial aid.” This award is based on students' answers to the survey question: "If you receive financial aid, how satisfied are you with your financial aid package?" Vassar awards more than $57 million in scholarships and an average undergrad student receives $45,154 toward the $62,000 bill per year. Students typically graduate with a total of $17,847 in debt, according to the Princeton Review.
Students, alumni, and administrators from around the United States proudly turned to social media platforms to celebrate their universities achievements.
In addition to the standard “best” lists that appeal to parents, Princeton Review created more specific lists to help eager high-schoolers identify their preferences.
Some non-traditional lists include, “Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians” (Reed College in Portland, Oregon), “Future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution” (Hillsdale College in Michigan), and “Stone Cold Sober School,” (Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah).
For students looking to live in a city, Princeton Review named Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee as the “College City Gets High Remarks” while the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut was ranked No. 1 for “College City Gets Low Remarks.”
Princeton Review highlighted the best and the worst of athletic facilities, radio stations, intramural sports and student government. The university of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio is listed as the school where “Everyone Plays an Intramural Sport,” while Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania has the “Most Active Student Government.”
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (commonly known as Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia ranked high in eight categories. The most impressive ranks include No. 1 for “Best Quality of Life” and “Their Students Love These Colleges.”
A former Hokie – the nickname for Virginia Tech grads -- displays her pride with her alma mater on Instagram.
Princeton Review says it bases its rankings on data from 143,000 online surveys of 80 questions split among four categories. These categories include school academics/administration, quality of life at their college, fellow classmates, and themselves. The surveys are tallied, compared and scored.
The majority of rankings are based on students answering only one question about a topic, but the company says all lists are derived from student surveys. The reviews are not based on company opinion, it says.
Princeton Review started in New York City when founder John Katzman launched a preparatory SAT course for just 15 students. Since then, it has published 150 books and guides.
It is noteworthy that Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University in New Jersey, which ranks No. 2 on the “Great Financial Aid” and “Colleges That Pay You Back” lists.
Check back next week to learn about how different organizations--international and domestic--rank universities and how they can impact your college decision.
Please leave a comment and visit us on our Facebook page, thanks!