U.Va. Heralded in Princeton Review Guidebook, "The Best 371 Colleges"

July 28, 2009 — The University of Virginia is one of the country's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review's new 2010 edition of its popular guidebook, "The Best 371 Colleges," published today.

Only about 15 percent of America's 2,500 four-year colleges and two Canadian colleges are profiled in the book, which is The Princeton Review's flagship annual college guide. It includes detailed profiles of the colleges with school rating scores in eight categories, plus ranking lists of top 20 schools in 62 categories based on student surveys. The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges in the book academically, or from 1 to 371 in any category.

"We commend the University of Virginia for its outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for our choice of schools for the book," said Robert Franek, author of "The Best 371 Colleges." "We also work to keep a wide representation of colleges in the book by region, size, selectivity and character. We make our choices based on institutional data we gather about schools, feedback from students attending them, and input from our staff who visit hundreds of colleges a year."

In its profile on the University of Virginia, "The Best 371 Colleges" quotes extensively from U.Va. students surveyed for the book. Highlights include:

* The school "ranks among the world's best and offers every imaginable subject," combining "the academic advantages of the Ivy League" with the social life – and price – of a large state school.

* The student body is a happy group: "Everyone here loves it – you can't find a school with more enthusiastic and dedicated students." U.Va. students "are really serious about succeeding, but they want to get all they can out of every part of college, too."

* The expectation of student involvement extends across university life; student bodies administer the honor code, "which says that you will not lie, cheat or steal while at the university."

* U.Va. students embody the "work hard, play hard" ethos. Life here "is all about
balance between studying and partying."

Schools in "The Best 371 Colleges" are scored on a scale of 60 to 99 in eight categories, based largely on institutional data collected by The Princeton Review during the 2008-09 academic year. U.Va. received the following ratings:

Academic Rating: 98
Admissions Rating: 99
Financial Aid Rating: 91
Fire Safety Rating: 64
Green Rating: 92
Profs Interesting Rating: 79
Profs Accessible Rating: 77
Quality of Life Rating: 82

Introduced in 2008, the "Green Rating" of a school's commitment to environmental policies, practices and education was developed in partnership with ecoAmerica, a non-profit environmental organization.

The rankings in the 62 categories in "The Best 371 Colleges" are based entirely on surveys of 122,000 students (325 per campus on average) during the 2008-09 and/or previous two school years. The 80-question survey asks students to rate and comment on their schools' academics, administration, campus life, student body and themselves. A college's appearance on a ranking list is entirely the result of a high consensus among its surveyed students about a topic compared with that of students at other schools answering the same survey on the ranking list topic.

U.Va. was ranked ninth among the top 20 schools with "Great Financial Aid." The University's AccessUVa financial aid program meets 100 percent of students' demonstrated financial need. Students whose family incomes are 200 percent of the federal poverty line or below receive loan-free, all-grant aid packages; all other students, regardless of their state residency, have the maximum amount of their need-based loans capped at approximately 25 percent of U.Va.'s in-state cost of attendance over four years, with all need above that amount covered by grants.

In a related ranking, released in January 2009 and cited in "The Best 371 Colleges," The Princeton Review and USA Today gave U.Va. the top ranking among all public schools in their "Best Value Colleges" list for 2009.

In a "Survey Says. . ." sidebar in the book's profile on U.Va., The Princeton Review lists topics that U.Va. students surveyed for the book were in most agreement about in their answers to survey questions. The list includes: "Athletic facilities are great," "Low cost of living" and "(Almost) no one smokes."

About The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review is known for its tutoring and classroom test preparation courses, books and college and graduate school admission services. Its corporate headquarters is in Framingham, Mass., and editorial offices are in New York City. It is not affiliated with Princeton University and it is not a magazine.

"The Best 371 Colleges" (Random House / Princeton Review, July 28, 2009, $22.99) is the 18th edition of The Princeton Review's annual "best colleges" book. The Princeton Review posts the school profiles and ranking lists in "The Best 371 Colleges" on its site at which users can read FAQs about the book, the survey, and the criteria for each of the ratings and rankings.

— By Brevy Cannon