Before college freshman have headed out the door for the first day of classes, Princeton Review has already moved on to high school juniors and seniors and released their newest edition, The Best 368 Colleges — 2009 Edition. The book takes a look at some of the best universities and colleges across the United States, and even separates the schools into various categories based on what students might be looking for. With many high school students preparing to head back to school in less than a month, Princeton Review’s 2009 college rankings have the potential to strongly influence next year’s freshman class.
Princeton Review’s college rankings measure the gamut, from party schools to scholarship friendly schools, and offer a glimpse of what colleges and universities across the country have to offer incoming students. It’s a quick and easy reference for students who want an idea of what their potential school might or might not have to offer.
It’s important for parents and students to remember, however, that Princeton Review’s college rankings don’t paint the full picture of what a school is and does. While they do interview students, look at acceptance rates and SAT scores, and examine statistical data from the school, CBS News reports that the 2009 edition of the Princeton Review only examines 15% of 4-year colleges and universities across the United States. Students who simply grab the college rankings off the shelf and don’t explore beyond the book have the potential to miss out on many other great schools, some of which may be a better fit for a child’s personality, a family’s budget, or a certain career route.
Whilte the Princeton Review’s college rankings can be a great tool, parents and students should be sure to visit schools in person. Examine websites and talk to alumae before making a final decision. Though college guidance counselors might not be able to know and help every student individually with information about every university, it’s their job to help and to be well versed in the college admissions process. Utilize them.
The Best 368 Colleges — 2009 Edition might help narrow down college choices for some students, but remember that college rankings don’t mean everything. I bet there are plenty of college graduates who had an amazing university experience, and their university didn’t even warrant a mention. Keep that in mind when selecting a college, flipping through the Princeton Review’s college rankings, and before you send off that check with your application.