Princeton Review’s Annual College Rankings, 2018 Edition

Best Colleges 2018On August 1, the 26th annual Princeton Review’s “Best 382 Colleges” was released.

It’s not just a simple, single list of colleges rated from 1-to-400, for academics.

It’s 62 ranking lists in categories from:

  • the most followed: “Great Financial Aid” & “Best Career Services”
  • to the most talked about: “Party Schools”  & “Stone-cold Sober Schools” (BYU is #1 – for the 20th year!)
  • to the quirkiest: “Birkenstock-wearing, Tree-hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians.”

On the “Great Financial Aid” list which is based on how students rated their aid awards, Bowdoin College (ME) earned the top spot, and deservedly: Bowdoin’s average undergraduate need-based scholarship grant last year was $42,200.

Sarah Lawrence College (NY), where 90% of the school’s classes are seminars, is #1 on the list, “Professors Get High Marks,” based on how students rated their faculty as teachers.

Some of the other Princeton Review ranking list categories and the #1 colleges on them include:

  • “Best Career Services”— Clemson University (SC)
  • “Most Accessible Professors”— Colby College (ME)
  • “Best College Dorms”— Scripps College (CA)
  • “Best Campus Food” — University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • “Best Health Services” — University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • “Most Beautiful Campus”— University of San Diego (CA)
  • “Best Athletic Facilities — Auburn University (AL)
  • “Happiest Students” — Vanderbilt University (TN)
  • “Most Politically Active Students” — Columbia University (NY)
  • “LGBTQ-Friendly” — Bryn Mawr College (PA)
  • “Party Schools” —Tulane University (LA)
  • “Stone-Cold Sober Schools” — Brigham Young University (UT)
  • “Students Pack the Stadiums” — Syracuse University (NY)
  • “College City Gets High Marks” — Tulane University (LA)
  • “Their Students Love These Colleges” — Virginia Tech

“We picked the 382 ‘best’ colleges for our book primarily for their outstanding academics: we highly recommend each one,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review‘s Editor-in-Chief and the book’s lead author. “However, we know applicants need far more than an academic rating or ranking to find the college that will be best for them. We created our 62 ranking lists to help narrow that search. They are based entirely on data we gather beyond academics that gives insight into what the schools’ enrolled students say about their professors, administrators, school services, campus culture, and student life. In the end, it’s all about the fit.”

The lists are all in the Princeton Review’s Best Colleges 2018 guidebook, now in print and available September 26 in an e-book edition.

The Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition

Or check out the ranking lists here: (they can be accessed for free with registration).

The results are all based on a survey of 137,000 students attending the 382 colleges in the book in 2016-17 and/or the previous two school years. About 350 students per campus completed the 80-question survey behind the project.

The survey asks students 84 questions about their school’s academics, administration, student body, and themselves. The format uses a five-point Likert scale to convert qualitative student assessments into quantitative data for school-to-school comparisons. More information on the ranking methodology is available here.

About The Princeton Review

“The Best 382 Colleges” is one of 150 Princeton Review books published by Penguin Random House ( The book’s college profiles feature ratings of the schools in eight categories including: Academics, Admissions Selectivity, Financial Aid, Fire Safety, and Green. The book also has two bonus lists, one titled “Great Schools for 20 of the Most Popular Undergraduate Majors.”  The other, “Colleges That Pay You Back,” lists 200 schools chosen for their academics, affordability/financial aid, and ROI (return on investment) data. They are profiled in the Princeton Review book by that title published in January 2017. The Princeton Review offers many resources for college applicants including: college admission counseling and application review services (, a free College Advisor app (available in the App Store) that helps students build their personal lists of dream, match and safety schools, and a rich database of college information and expert advice on navigating the admissions process on The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY. The company is not affiliated with Princeton University. For more information, visit

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