Although the current higher education landscape may be filled with uncertainty due to COVID-19, there’s one thing that remains constant: the annual Princeton Review report of the best colleges throughout the United States. Each year, The Princeton Review issues these rankings to help students make informed choices when deciding where to attend college. Just like in past rankings, a number of SUNY schools have been named in The Best 386 Colleges 2021 Edition, highlighting campus strengths in providing the high-quality and accessible education that SUNY is known for, among other categories.
This annual list is one by and for students. According to a recent The Princeton Review press release, “… college rankings are entirely based on surveys of college students, who rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences exclusively for this project.” For the 2021 rankings, 143,000 students from 386 colleges were surveyed. Within the survey, students are asked about their “professors, administrators, school services, campus culture, and other facets of life at their schools,” answering over 80 questions in total that employ a five-point scale (e.g., a spectrum of answers from “Very satisfied” to “Very dissatisfied”). At times, The Princeton Review includes new categories among their many types in their comprehensive rankings. This year, “Best Counseling Services,” has been added, which lists the institutions that students most highly ranked their college’s mental health counseling services.
After the surveys are collected, The Princeton Review tallies the results, and each college is given a score similar to a GPA derived from student answers. These scores are then used to compare the colleges on the list and start creating lists. The Princeton Review notes that all of their lists are derived from student survey results. However, this annual list series does not rank the colleges in numerical order. All 386 colleges in the list are as one. It is only in the smaller, focused lists that schools are ranked for the top 20 in each. The Princeton Review website provides more information on specific lists and survey questions used to formulate them.
Please see below for a summary of the SUNY schools that made the Best Colleges ranking and other lists from this year’s Princeton Review:
Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.