TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2014 Princeton Review's Best 378 Colleges

Princeton 2The Princeton Review yesterday released The Best 378 Colleges -- 2014 Edition.  According to the press release, the book contains 62 rankings based on surveys completed by 126,000 students at the 378 schools (333 per school) (methodology here), including these categories:

  • Best (Reed) classroom experience
  • Best (Marlboro), worst (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) professors
  • Most (U.S. Military Academy), least (New Jersey Tech) accessible professors
  • Best (Rice) quality of life
  • Most (Claremont McKenna), least (New Jersey Tech) happy students
  • Students love (Virginia Tech) their school
  • Most (Mississippi), least (New Jersey Tech) beautiful campus
  • Best (Claremont McKenna), worst (Wells) run school
  • Most liberal (Bennington), most conservative (Auburn) schools
  • Most (BYU),  least (Reed) religious
  • Students study the most (Cal-Tech), least (North Dakota)
  • Most (Swarthmore), least (Penn State) financial aid
  • Most (Emerson), least (Grove City) LGBT-Friendly
  • Most (CUNY), least (Gettysburg) race/class interaction
  • Best (Columbia), worst (Bradley) library
  • Best (Bowdoin), worst (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) food
  • Best (Smith), worst (U.S. Coast Guard Academy) dorms
  • Biggest (Iowa), least (BYU) party school
  • Most (Skidmore), least (U.S. Military Academy) marijuana on campus
  • Most (Iowa), least (BYU) hard liquor on campus
  • Most (Penn State), least (BYU) beer on campus

I am considering demanding a recount: Pepperdine is ranked as only the second most beautiful campus. Really?

Pepperdine Campus Photo

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These rankings are hideous. Fact is, there aren't 378 "best" colleges. There aren't 37 "best" colleges. Garbage like this and "33 Hidden Ivies" and such falsely lead students and families to believe that there are a whole host of colleges with similar outcomes/outputs as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Williams, and so forth. There simply aren't, but these breathless publications have allowed for insane levels of Veblen Good pricing among the not-quite Ivies and not-nearly Ivies, to the extent that GW costs more than Georgetown, NYU more than Columbia, Drexel more than Penn, and neither Harvard not MIT rank among the TEN most expensive colleges in Massachusetts. Combine that with outlandishly grandiose-to-fraudulent job outcomes data, and we get things like the current law school fiasco.

Posted by: UnemployedNortheastern | Aug 6, 2013 3:25:59 PM

Paul, you will have to come visit Ole Miss so we can show you why we are #1!

Posted by: Richard Gershon | Aug 6, 2013 6:06:53 PM

Richard, it sounds like we need to arrange reciprocal visits to settle this once and for all!

Posted by: Paul Caron | Aug 6, 2013 6:36:43 PM

• Most liberal (Bennington), most conservative (Auburn) schools -- War Eagle!

Posted by: Woody | Aug 6, 2013 8:06:23 PM

Maybe you should both visit Iowa, and I will show you why we're the #1 party school.

Posted by: andy | Aug 6, 2013 11:29:27 PM

UnemployedNortheastern: You're quite right. Technically, there can only be one "best" school.

Posted by: K1 | Aug 7, 2013 7:30:39 AM

•Biggest (Iowa), least (BYU) party school
•Most (Iowa), least (BYU) hard liquor on campus
•Most (Penn State), least (BYU) beer on campus

That's enough for me-- I'm sending my kids to BYU.

Posted by: Yo Gabba Gabba | Aug 7, 2013 10:54:51 AM

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder...someone is blind

Posted by: Steve | Aug 7, 2013 12:50:12 PM