USF named to Princeton Review

The University of South Florida has been ranked one of the top colleges in the United States in the Princeton Review’s new book, The 361 Best Colleges: 2006 Edition.

The actual ranking will be revealed in August 2005 when the book is published.

This is the first time USF has been acknowledged in this popular book that has been released annually since 1992.

“This recognition is a reflection of our commitment to superior undergraduate education, which encompasses quality academic programs, state-of-the-art facilities, research, leadership opportunities and an overall enriching campus life,” said USF President Judy Genshaft in a USF press release.

The book is unique in that it ranks the top colleges in 64 categories. Many of the categories do not regard academics, but instead focus on schools that are the most politically active, the most/least accepting of the gay community and schools that have the best race relations, the best food and the most/least religious students.

Randomly selected students from each of the 361 schools — approximately 110,000 in total — answered 70-question surveys regarding different aspects of their college experiences. The Princeton Review then calculated the answers to come up with each schools’ top 20 ranking.

“You can really get a sense of whether you’re going to feel good about your life on that campus by using not only the ranking lists in the book, but also the write-ups in the book, which include actual quotes from students,” said Jeanne Krier, the publicity director for Princeton Review Books.

Some lists, such as the “Toughest to Get Into” list, needed “hard data” from the schools, Krier said. However, “Almost all of the other lists are based completely on what the students at the schools said about their campus experiences,” she said.

Before the schools are ranked, they are chosen first by the Princeton Review.

“They decide what schools should be in the book by their own high regard for them,” Krier said. She added that associates of the Princeton Review are constantly observing and visiting colleges as well as getting the opinions of students, parents and educators in regard to different universities. “When a school is chosen for the book, it really has to meet a lot of different criteria.

“They also always try to keep a wide balance of schools in the book so that there’s a representation of little-known gems, specialty schools and a nice regional representation,” Krier said.

The schools listed are only 15 percent of the total number of four-year colleges in the United States.

The Princeton Review publishes over 190 guide and reference books that pertain to test taking and higher education. Preparation books for standardized admission tests such as the SAT, MCAT and GMAT are among the most popular. The company also provides one-on-one tutoring, live classes and online courses for test preparations.