With students’ and parents’ feverish concerns about college, the best advice on today’s best colleges and universities can come from the college students themselves.
“They are the experts on their own experiences,” said Rob Franek, lead author of The Princeton Review’s “Best 388 Colleges for 2023” (Aug. 2022, $24.99). “Things affect students academically and outside of the classroom as well.”
The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, exam preparation and college admissions services company. The new guide includes two-page profiles of all 388 featured schools, as well as 50 ranking categories such as Most Beautiful Campus (University of San Diego, California) and Great Financial Aid (Vanderbilt University, Tennessee). To create the ranks, 160,000 students attending the profiled schools were surveyed.
“Almost all of our 50 ranking categories date back to 1992, when we published our Best Colleges book,” Franek said. “We chose to publish rankings in multiple categories rather than one mega list based solely on academics because our goal is to help students find the best college for them. All of the colleges that make our best college book offer excellent academics, in our opinion. Our lists feature top schools within our 388 that stand out based on what their own students think about them — for their career services, financial support, campus food, dormitories, and student body characteristics.
To create the ranks, Princeton Review surveyed 160,000 students who attended the colleges in the book.
“Our 85-question survey asked them to rate their schools on various topics and report on their campus experiences at them on a five-point scale,” Franek said. “We don’t choose the students who take part in the survey – they choose to do so themselves. We are asking college administrators at schools to send their students information about the survey and our secure link to participate.”
Princeton Review also surveyed college administrators (including admissions officers) at 656 schools in July 2022, asking them to report on matters such as COVID protocols, admissions testing policies, and enrollment projections.
In the New York area, the United States Military Academy at West Point topped the list of “Best Student Support and Counseling Services.” According to the students surveyed here: “Academics are tough, but because professors only teach a few sections…they are willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the busy schedules of West Point cadets…any student can be successful if you are willing.” , To ask for help .
Columbia University in Morningside Heights, Manhattan earned first place on the book’s “College City Gets High Marks” list, closely followed by Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, Tulane University in Louisiana, and American University in Washington DC. It’s hard to disagree given that it’s located in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Admissions officers here say, “After a day of exploring New York City, you come home to a traditional college campus in an intimate neighborhood.”
If you’re an athlete, Fordham University in the Bronx captured the guide’s number one spot on the Everyone Plays Intramural Sports list, followed by Providence College in Rhode Island, Clemson University in South Carolina, and Brigham Young University in Utah.
And in case you’re wondering, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York has been named the best school for reefer madness. Aside from getting high, “this is an active and engaged student body, with the average Skidmore student earning at least one major and one minor and being involved in multiple clubs, while also likely holding more than one job,” states it in the poll.
In another dubious round of applause, another New York-based school, Syracuse University, received the top honor for the Lots of Hard Liquor list, along with West Virginia University, North Carolina’s Wake Forest University and Union College in Schenectady, NY. next in line.
“With 13 schools and colleges, 200 customizable majors and 100 minors, and online degrees and certificates, Syracuse University offers unlimited educational avenues,” said the admissions officers interviewed for the book.
Schools with exceptional internship/collaborative/experiential learning opportunities endear students to hands-on experiences outside of the classroom, Franek said. Clemson University in Clemson, SC took the lead in this Best Career Services category.
If you’re looking for Greek life, the University of Alabama comes out on top for Lots of Greek Life. Impressively, the incoming class of UAB tends to have an average GPA of 3.8, and that’s the most important factor in admissions, according to the Princeton Review authors.
“The administrators here want to host a friendly, diverse, and intelligent student body of students who strive to be active in the community,” they wrote.
For research-focused “Best Science Lab Facilities,” Indiana’s Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology goes, with California Institute of Technology, United States Military Academy, and Lake Forest College in Illinois coming in next best.
“Rose-Hulman has been recognized as the top undergraduate engineering school in the United States for the past two decades and we have a track record of achieving an outstanding career placement rate averaging 98% with some of the world’s best-known companies. We recruit our students for paid internships and full-time positions,” the school’s admissions officers said.
Staying mentally and physically fit is a big concern for college students and their parents, even more so since the pandemic, Franek said.
To that end, the United States Air Force Academy takes the lead on Best Health Services. Students surveyed here indicate how satisfied they are: “Values like integrity, service and excellence are indeed the norm…If you decide to participate, be prepared to be physically and mentally challenged and held at a higher level to become than at an average college. In return, however, you also get incredible opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else.”
In terms of diversity, Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts is the top college to be labeled LGBTQ-friendly, followed by Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, Reed College in Oregon and Brown University in Rhode Island.
If you want to know which school deserved Best Campus Food, then the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with Bowdoin College in Maine, Washington University in St. Louis, and Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, is also a good choice for foodies.