HigherEdMorning.comPrinceton Review's newest college ratings

Princeton Review’s newest college ratings

July 28, 2009 by Geneva Reid
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, Student Life

The newest edition of Princeton Review‘s college ratings just came out.

Find out which schools students say have the best professors, most beautiful campus, best food, etc. 

We won’t give you the whole guide, but here’s a sampling of 12 categories and the top-rated school in each:

  • Best professors: Davidson College (NC)
  • Happiest with their financial aid: Swarthmore College (PA)
  • Most beautiful campus: Colgate University (NY)
  • Best campus food: Virginia Tech
  • Best dorms: Smith College (MA)
  • Top party school: Penn State University
  • Top stone-cold sober school: Brigham Young University (UT)
  • Gay community most accepted: New York University
  • Best classroom experience: Pomona College (CA)
  • Most conservative students: Texas A&M University
  • Most liberal students: Warren Wilson College (NC)
  • Best athletic facilities: University of Maryland at College Park

More than 120,000 students were surveyed for the 62 rankings on the list.

For a look at all the schools featured in the Princeton Review‘s “The Best 371 Colleges – 2010 Edition,” click here.

Anything you’d like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • John Battington

    Please remember that the Princeton Review is based on a self-report survey, probably one of the most expeditious and inexpensive way to obtain data and also ripe with BS (and I do not mean a bachelor of science). Self-report is notorious for innacuracies and for the respondent trying to “look good”. Unfortunately, the students at Penn State think that reporting partying makes their campus look good. Thank God, the Keystone State has U of P and CMU to balance these idiots. However, if you really want to see the worthlessness of self-report, check out the responses for Clemson. This hole in the wall university in the middle of a nobody state in a nobody part of America “ranks” highly in quality of life. As if the types of students who go to Clemson would have a meaningful reference point. They largely come from the South, the trash bin of America, they have never been anywhere, and they do not want to go anywhere. If you really want to judge a school, you need to examine what their graduates are doing. As Americans, we should know how to measure SUCCESS. Self report sucks.

  • The Professor

    I agree that self-report is a problematic method, by a number of reasons. However, to find a fair method to compare universities would take a long time to develop and we are not there yet. The problem is also how to define “excellence.” Lastly, despite I went to one of the 2 top schools in the US, I see no need to show contempt and put down other schools. Maybe there ARE good reasons to rank Clemson high? Maybe there are reason to rank your school at the bottom, considering you obviously did not learn manners and respect during your education?

  • Elizabeth Sinclair

    I work at Kent State’s College of Business. How can we be considered for inclusion in the next edition?

  • John Battington

    First, “The Professor” should know that I teach at one of the top three medical schools in America as judged by several, not one SURVEY. Moreover, these surveys are not based on what undergraduates think they know or “feel”. Second, although I did not go to “one of the 2 top schools in the US,” at least I am capable of writing a sentence in my native language. Third, my schools were not ranked low by your so-called survey, rather they are ranked much higher by surveys based on graduation rates, faculty-to-student ratios, resources, and publications of the faculty. Actually, I believe in the Old Testament, rather than the New Testament, which says an “eye for an eye….” I will continue to denigrate the South because evey time I read a newspaper I am reminded of their politics (yes, I say “their” politics because they vote in blocks like robots), I get sick to my stomach. My country is a mess because of them. If they want to be hateful, I will respond in kind. You are just trying to protect your financial interest in this garbage survey.

  • Hilton

    Given the exchanges between “The Professor” and Mr. Battington, perhaps the Princeton Reviews should include ask questions such as: whether they or their family owns a gun, whether they have ever been outside the country, whether they know another language well enough to converse with a native speaker of that language, the number of times per week they eat foods from other countries (and I do not mean Pizza or chow mein). My sense would be that students from Clemson, SMU, Texas A&M, and TCU would score very high relative to others on gun ownership, not experiencing other cultures, etc. One might say that gun ownership is a private matter, however if you ask these students about abortion, they will tell you it is not a private matter. Why not include a measure of contradictory thought processes in the PR? Finally, what is the percentage of white anglo saxon students at these schools and do they respond differently than non-WASP students?

  • The Professor

    Mr. Battington,
    First, I am actually not a native English speaker, but learned the English language in my 20′s and eventually graduated with my third doctoral degree from the American institution I mentioned. This very institution happen to be ranked as #2 on all kind of surveys. However, just like you, I don’t give much credence to these kind of surveys and am I not even certain my university is better than Clemson. Good students and bad students are present in all universities. Unfortunately, the same goes for professors. Maybe there is a higher concentration of good students and professors in higher ranking universities? I don’t know. I know these surveys suffer from poor methodology and my experience is limited to only my “home” university.

    Second, I think I can express myself perfect in my native tongue. Perhaps my inability to write in grammatically correct English is an expression of my intellect, but I hope not.

    Thirdly, I have no investment (positive or negative) in the South, either politically or ideologically. I simply reacted to your (seemingly) unmotivated urge to debase people who live in rural areas or don’t attend Ivy League schools. I did not understand you were targeting the South. I understand now that your urge goes deeper than that and I am sorry.

  • MightyMouse

    Clearly, Princeton Review never seems to visit or wishes to consider more than a few rural colleges with students mostly on financial aid. It is as if they wish to prolong the established, widely believed notion, that Ivies and power schools should always remain on top of their lists. Forget about quality of instruction or the fact that these students get individualized attention and are more impressive at conferences than their colleagues attending institutions on Princeton Review’s list.

    I have a degree from a near Ivy and I went to a state school for my doctorate degree. There are good and bad things to say about both, grades did not come easy from my programs, and times do change. I wish this kind of polling was more relevant and effective regarding what is really going on currently. I now teach at a rural school in the south in which most of the students are on financial aid and have been affected by numerous hurricanes. Despite tragedy, a state governing administration that refuses funding education and health care, and a certain population who fail to comprehend that the university educates and economically helps about 200,000 to 300,000 people, we do wonderfully here. Our students who go to graduate school not only hold their heads above water, but blow the competition away. We also had the highest use of Ebsco database research anywhere in Louisiana (this was compared to the flagship university that has doctoral programs we don’t have as well as more faculty members). Princeton Review completely ignores information like these.

    Finally, I have to say that a few comments made here about the South are woefully untutored, hark back to attitudes that prevailed from the 1860s to the 1960s, and demonstrate an incredible lack of knowlege on so many levels. If your comments were politically motivated, didn’t you know that certain areas in the South were blue ones? That Louisiana was a purple state before Katrina? Or should I assume you are making a more purist geographical distinction about what the South means to you (say, the Mason-Dixon line?). If so, then I take it you’re writing off institutions like the University of Maryland, Duke, and Rice, all making the list and all with outstanding *academic* facilities. Nevermind that most traditionally black institutions are also in the South. I’m sure that institutions like mine (which didn’t make the list, but has made more impressive strides than many institutions on it) or Berea College (which not only made the list, but it is a well known fact that institutions like Amherst College are inspired and exploring its success as a model for their own) fall well below your radar. How ignorant.

    You should know that people from Clemson has been strategizing for getting on top–there are articles about this and they are very interesting. Members of the university put into perspective how they did it, and they realize that they didn’t like all the changes they had to make in order to climb the rungs in these kinds of publication rankings. They were wise enough to identify that these kinds of publications don’t simply go away and that they do leave an impression on perspective students especially.

    I wish the Princeton Review would widen its net and take care to take a further look at running down facilities. Most of our facilities here look better than those at Yale, Smith, UMass, or UCSB. It isn’t just my opinion or biased imagination. You really should come down and see places like us some time. As for libraries, considerations should go so much further than volumes and square feet of archival materials. What about the people who teach research there? What about the institutions who fail to support their libraries by converting them into learning centers and laying off one-on-one hands-on research instruction? Ever heard about critical thinking and research. They should go together.

  • John Battington

    I actually agree with the comments made by Mighty Mouse regarding the Princeton Review and the quality of the survey; however, I should like to clarify my comments about the South. First, I do not know anyone who considers Louisiana to be in the same category as the SOuth…Of course, it is geographically in the South, but they have always been bluer than the rest of the region (probably the French and Spanish as opposed to Anglo influence). This is also true for parts of South Florida. Indeed, if you want to cherry pick places (e.g. Chapel Hill, Maryland….which again, by virtue of DC, is fairly blue, parts of Atlanta, etc.), I am sure you could find open-minded individuals in large numbers, but proportionately, the numbers would be small. Rather, I am referring to the masses of conservatives who voted for the congressman and senators and executive leadership that have made us the laughing stock of the world. It is clear that a change began in the South in the early 70s and much of that was the result of Northerners moving there because it is cheap to live there and there were jobs because of government subsidies and deals made by the federal and state governments to enrich this poor area of the country. My major gripe with the South is that as a block it has consistently stood for hatred, whether it be of blacks, jews, catholics, or gay people. You can talk about all the so-called changes in the South, but this is still the most conservative place in the country and as a liberal, I no longer will ignore them. I am grateful that we now have national television stations such as MSNBC to counter the conservative agenda. I also notice that you did not respond to the comments made about gun ownership….. Is this something you value in the South? How about the huge number of corrupt politicians?

    You may be impressed with Duke, but to me it is like Disneyland. Fake buildings made to look old, a climate where one can not go outside for four months of the year because of the swamp like climate, the school that produced Richard Nixon, and the school that was built on the backs of lung cancer victims.
    I have nothing bad to say about Rice, other than the fact that it is in Texas, the scum of the USA. This is a state that not only produced GW, but which has the highest homicide rates, one of the highest in poverty, no support for education, limited cultural opportunities, in which barbeque is gourmet food.

  • http://claymore.engineer.gvsu.edu/~steriana Andrew Sterian

    The Professor said: “I agree that self-report is a problematic method, by a number of reasons. However, to find a fair method to compare universities would take a long time to develop and we are not there yet.”

    This argument of “It’s not good but it’s the best we got” is fundamentally wrong. People make decisions based on data, and flawed data can do more damage than no data at all.

    Think of it this way: we have three possible studies that could have been conducted and reported upon:

    1. We determined that there was no way to objectively determine which school was best along these dimensions so we refuse to publish anything.
    2. We determined that there was no way to objectively determine which school was best along these dimensions so we just resorted to self-reporting and wrote what is basically a puff piece.
    3. We did a lot of work to objectively and rigorously determine what makes one school better than another along all these dimensions.

    Studies #1 and #3 are GOOD. Study #2, which is what this article is, is BAD. In the absence of GOOD data, people will use ANY data including BAD DATA with which to make decisions.

  • Jim Perry

    The Princeton Review is nothing morethan an attempt to make money. I doubt many people know it (or at least those who are influenced by it) but it has no association with Princeton University. Rankings like this one and that of US News and World Report are meaningless in terms of judging quality of a college or university. Consider this as well: Is the quality of a medical facility judged by how healthy the patient is when she goes in or when she comes out? Is it any surprise that the graduation rate of a highly selective institution is high? How much value is added? Not much — start with “the best” and graduate “the best.” People would be better off looking at the results from the National Survey of Student Engagement and Community College Survey of Student Engagement in selecting places to obtain an education — far better than Princeton Review or US News and World Report.

  • AJ Crumbley

    I am curious that John Battington’s name appears nowhere in a PubMed search. For a “tenured professor” at a US medical school, that leads to the conclusion that John Battington writes under a pseudonym. In view of the venom that he spouts (about the South, Texas, Duke, Clemson, etc.) it is no wonder! This blog is demeaned by such comments.

  • John Battington

    I would be out of my mind to write on here using my actual name. You guys have guns and you know how to use them. Have you read the lates polls from even the “Wall Street Journal” about the South and the kinds of beliefs your populace has about the rest of the world, about our president, about how you get your news? Can you actually keep a straight face and ask that people in other parts of the country not respond to your hatred with disgust and ridicule? There will be no more turning of the cheek for you. This country was almost destroyed by you hypocrites. Venom is too good for you. It is ok for you to say (56%) that Obama was not born in America or that Hawaii is not part of America, it is ok for you to say that the vast majority of you get your news from Fox, but it is not ok for me to tell you that you are scum? The problem with this country is that we (the Northeast, Midwest, Far West) have allowed you to run wild in the streets.

    Does the use of a pseudonym make my comments any less true? The only time in the history of this country that the South was derided more than now was before and after the Civil War. You have earned your place in American History.

  • John Battington

    One more thing. You obviously teach at a second rate Medical School (in the South) because PubMed is a second rate search engine. Anyone who really wants to know about the best research being done in an area uses Web of Science because it is much more comprehensive and allows one to judge an article’s research by its citation levels and not just whether or not it was published. Of course, Duke is too cheap to carry it in its library system.

  • CheerstoCrumbley

    From one Jewish librarian with black ancestry, whose family has experienced the holocaust and just about as much bigotry in the north as in the south, whose family did settle in places in the South, who voted for Obama, who greatly admires Hillary, and there are many, many, like us here in Battington’s dreaded South–Duke has access to Web of Science. You may have a right to express your ignorance here, Battington, but your inability to tell the truth and your fragile state of mind (you focus only on histories in the mainstream, which says a lot about your poor mind to real scholars) won’t get you an ounce of respect. I’m sorry for others who want to discuss these surveys, but shame on educational institutions (primary, secondary, college, graduate, professional, and even technical) for taking publications like the Princeton Review seriously. I won’t tell Battington he should shut up, but his mind is a rotten apple for any liberal cause. This includes supporting education. With “friends” like you, the book burners would have won a long, long time ago.

  • Jim Perry

    I would find it much more useful and interesting if [the few] people who are apparently following this would stick to the issue of the value of Princeton Review, or lack thereof, rather than engaging in what might best be described as ad hominum attacks on each other or attacks on individual institutions.


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