The Princeton Review’s rankings in its recently published 2021 college guide recognize the University of Richmond’s campus as the nation’s most beautiful.
The title was bestowed upon UR by its students.
The Princeton Review’s 2021 rankings are based on online surveys submitted by 143,000 students at 386 schools. Among survey subjects are academics, administration, and various other aspects of college life.
Rankings include 62 top-20 lists based on information each school’s students submitted via surveys about their schools. In the case of UR’s beauty, for example, surveyed UR students “indicated a very high consensus of opinion about that topic,” according to The Princeton Review’s College Ranking Methodology report.
The surveys had 85 questions in four sections. Students answered by selecting one of five options that ranged from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree,” or “Excellent” to “Poor,” or “Very Satisfied” to “Very Dissatisfied.” Some choices involved percentages.
Each college was given a score linked to its students’ answers to specific survey questions. Schools’ response metrics were compared. Using the scores, The Princeton Review formulated its rankings.
The number of students who completed surveys averaged 370 per campus. Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief, said in a Thursday phone interview that the organization does not disclose how many students from each school participated in the survey. Students can submit only one survey per academic year.
The rankings, which The Princeton Review began in 1992, are part of an 880-page book, “The Best 386 Colleges, 2021,” written by The Princeton Review and Franek.
“There are just shy of 3,000 four-year colleges [in the U.S.] and we don’t back into the number each year. [The 386 are] simply based on our high opinion — myself, our full editorial team at The Princeton Review — of those schools academically, as well as outside of the classroom,” said Franek. “What are they providing for students when it comes to financial aid, career services, and so on? And those are things we touch on in the narrative, as well as the ranking lists themselves.”
According to Franek, no fees submitted to The Princeton Review are required from schools to be included among the 386 chosen.
Franek described The Princeton Review as “an educational services company helping students master the SAT, ACT, every standardized test under the sun, and then of course college admission, grad and professional school, admission.”