St. Mary’s College of Maryland is one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features St. Mary’s College in the new 2015 edition of its annual college guide, “The Best 379 Colleges,” released August 5.
The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges academically or from 1 to 379 in any category. Instead it reports 62 ranking lists of top 20 colleges in various categories. In the demographics category, St. Mary’s College ranks 12th for “lots of race/class interaction.”
The lists are entirely based on The Princeton Review’s survey of 130,000 students (about 343 per campus on average) attending the colleges. The 80-question survey asks students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their campus experiences. Topics range from assessments of their professors as teachers to opinions about their school’s library, career services, and student body’s political leanings.
In its profile on the college, The Princeton Review quotes extensively from St. Mary’s students surveyed for the book. Speaking on the college’s classroom environment, one student said that classes at St. Mary’s tend to have “a great combination of lecture, discussion, and experiential learning,” which translates into “a stimulating, challenging and altogether high-quality academic experience.”
In a “Survey Says” sidebar in the book’s profile on the college, The Princeton Review lists topics that St. Mary’s students surveyed for the book were in most agreement about in their answers to survey questions. The list includes: “students are happy,” and “campus feels safe.”
The schools in “The Best 379 Colleges” also have rating scores in eight categories that The Princeton Review tallies based on institutional data it collected during the 2013-14 academic year and/or its student survey for the book. The ratings are on a scale of 60 to 99 and they appear in each school profile. Among the ratings in St. Mary’s profile are scores of 92 for both quality of life and professor accessibility.
“St. Mary’s College of Maryland offers outstanding academics, which is the chief reason we selected it for the book,” said Rob Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president, publisher and author of “The Best 379 Colleges.” Only about 15% of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and only four colleges outside the U.S. are profiled in the book. On the selection process, Franek said, “We take into account input we get from our staff, our 27-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, our personal visits to schools, and the sizable amount of feedback we get from our surveys of students attending these schools.”