The ranking comes just days after Xavier was ranked second among 142 Midwest master’s-level colleges and universities in the 2007 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report.
"We consider these colleges the best in the nation academically" says Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s vice president for publishing and author of the guide. "But the real challenge for applicants and parents is finding the college that's best for them. That's why our profiles and unique ranking lists report in-depth what the colleges' customers—the students themselves—tell us about their schools and their experiences at them."
Only about 15% of the four-year colleges in the United States and two Canadian colleges are in The Princeton Review publication. It has two-page profiles of the schools and ranking lists based on student surveys of the top 20 colleges in 62 categories. The New York-based education services company also posts the book's annual ranking lists on its website, www.PrincetonReview.com.
Xavier is named among 163 colleges on the list of “Best Midwestern Colleges.” The Xavier profile page says students like the small class sizes, everyone loves the Musketeers and fraternities and sororities are unpopular. It adds, “Students at Xavier love being here” and quotes one student saying, “I know this is really cheesy, but I always joke that Xavier, and not Disney World, is the happiest place on earth."
Franek says the schools were chosen based primarily on outstanding academics after an evaluation based on institutional data collected about the schools, plus feedback from students and on-campus visits.
“We also consider the opinions of independent college counselors, students and parents we hear from and survey year-long,” Franek says. “We work to have a wide representation of colleges in the book by region, size, selectivity and character.”
The listing of schools in the various categories of “The Best 361 Colleges” is based on the review’s survey of 115,000 students, an average of 300 per campus, attending the 361 colleges. A college's inclusion on a list means there was a high consensus among its surveyed students about the subject. The 80-question survey asked students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their personal experiences at their school.
Ranking lists report the top 20 schools in categories that range from best professors, administration and campus food to student body political leanings, interest in sports and other aspects of campus life. The Princeton Review does not do an overall ranking of the 361 colleges in any single category.
The individual rankings list the University of Chicago first for academics, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, for best campus food, and Smith College in Northampton, Mass., first for best dorms. The best-administered school is Pomona College in Los Angeles, while Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., is where students are happiest with their financial aid.
“The Best 361 Colleges” is one of more than 200 Princeton Review books published by Random House. The Princeton Review, known for its education, admission and test-preparation services, is not affiliated with Princeton University or the Educational Testing Service.