According to a Princeton Review survey that asked 143,000 students at 381 top colleges to rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their experiences at them, the college at which students gave their teachers the highest marks is Wellesley College (MA). It is #1 on the “Best Professors” list in the education services company’s tallies for its 25th annual college rankings being released today.

Topping the Princeton Review list, “Great Financial Aid,” based on students’ satisfaction with their aid award packages, is Vassar College (NY) — a not-so-surprising distinction, given that Vassar’s average undergraduate need-based scholarship last year was $45,100.

Bentley University (MA) captured the top spot on the list, “Best Career Services” and quite credibly: the university reports that a whopping 98% of its 2015 grad respondents are employed or in grad school.

The Princeton Review’s ranking lists of the top 20 colleges in these and 59 other categories will post today online, where the lists can be accessed in full for free with registration.

The ranking lists are also published in the 2017 edition of Princeton Review’s annual “Best Colleges” guidebook, “The Best 381 Colleges” on sale already in print and available October 11 in an e-book edition.  It is the 25th annual publication of the book.

“Since 1992 when we created this guide to the colleges we believe are the nation’s best, academically, our purpose has been twofold,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s Senior VP-Publisher and lead author of the book. “One: we want to shine light on these exceptional institutions which represent only 15% of the nation’s four-year colleges. Two: we work to give applicants considering them an incomparable amount of campus feedback to decide which college may be best for them. We base our 62 ranking lists entirely on what the colleges’ customers, their enrolled students, report to us on our surveys. As such, they provide unique insights into the campus cultures, aid offerings, services, and student body communities at these schools. In the end, it’s all about the fit.”

Of timely interest this year are the book’s ranking lists based on students’ reports about their political leanings. Topping the “Most Liberal Students” list is Sarah Lawrence College (NY), while Brigham Young University (UT) is #1 on the “Most Conservative Students” list. The book has lists naming colleges with the most and the least politically active students and a new list in this edition, “Most Active Student Government” on which Bucknell University (PA) is #1.

Other ranking list categories in the book — and #1 colleges on them:

  • “Best Campus Food” – University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • “Best College Dorms” – Washington University in St. Louis
  • “Best Health Services” – University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • “LGBTQ-Friendly” – Sarah Lawrence College (NY)
  • “Students Pack the Stadiums” – Syracuse University (NY)
  • “Best Athletic Facilities” – Pennsylvania State University
  • “Party Schools” – University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • “Stone-Cold Sober Schools” – Brigham Young University (UT)
  • “Most Beautiful Campus” – Rhodes College (TN)
  • “Happiest Students” – Rice University (TX)
  • “Their Students Love These Colleges” – Virginia Tech

The rankings in the 2017 edition are based on surveys of 143,000 students (average 375 per campus) at the 381 colleges in the book in 2015-16 and/or the previous two school years. The survey asks students 84 questions about their school’s academics, administration, student body, and themselves. The ranking methodology uses a five-point Likert scale to convert qualitative student assessments into quantitative data for school-to-school comparisons.

“The Best 381 Colleges” is one of 150 Princeton Review books published by Penguin Random House. The school profiles in the book include admission and financial aid information plus ratings of the schools in eight categories including: Admissions Selectivity, Financial Aid, Fire Safety, and Green. The rating scores (from 60 to 99) are based primarily on data from the Company’s surveys of administrators at the colleges in 2015-16. The book also has a list of “Great Schools for 20 of the Most Popular Undergraduate Majors” and a list of 200 “Colleges That Pay You Back” naming schools profiled in the Company’s book by that title published in February 2016.

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY and is an operating business of Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH).


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