12 colleges with great professors

(MoneyWatch) Every year The Princeton Review creates lists of schools with the best and worst professors, which are based on its annual student surveys. It is nearly impossible for families to know how good the teaching is at any college or university, but these lists show a definite trend for families seeking schools with excellent teaching.  The Princeton Review rated the twelve schools highlighted here as having the most accessible professors. Ten of the schools that made this list are liberal arts colleges, which offer personalized instruction and small classes. The remaining two institutions are small engineering schools. The highest score that a professor could receive was 100. The approachable faculty at these schools also earned high marks from their students for being interesting. Here are the top 12 as identified by the Princeton Review:

  • Centre College -- This liberal arts college in Danville, Ky, has 1,337 undergraduates and 85 percent of them study abroad. Students gave their professors an accessibility rating of 98 and an interesting rating of 96.
  • University of Puget Sound -- The University of Puget Sound is a liberal arts college with 2,577 undergraduates in Tacoma, Wash. The students gave their professors a high accessibility rating of 98 and an interesting rating of 95. 
  • Hillsdale College -- Hillsdale College is a Christian college in Hillsdale, Mich. that focuses on the classical liberal arts. Its students gave the professors a high accessibility rating of 98, and an even higher interesting rating of 99. 
  • Bennington College -- This liberal arts college in Bennington, Vt. has 688 undergraduates, 96 percent of whom come from outside the state. The students gave the professors excellent accessibility and interesting ratings of 99.
  • Swarthmore College -- This liberal arts college in Swarthmore, Pa. has 1,552 undergraduates. Like the professors at other colleges on this list, the professors received extremely high marks - an accessibility rating of 99 and an interesting rating of 98.
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology -- This is a small undergraduate school of engineering, mathematics and science in Terre Haute, Ind. with 2,097 undergrads. The students gave their professors an accessibility rating of 99 and an interesting rating of 92.
  • Grinnell College -- This liberal arts college in Grinnell, Iowa, which has one of the largest college endowments in the country, has 1,611 students. Its professors received an accessibility rating of 99 and an interesting rating of 97.
  • St. John's College -- This liberal arts college in Santa Fe, N.M., which is known for its "great books" curriculum, has 349 undergraduates. The faculty received nearly perfect scores for being accessible (99) and for being interesting (99).
  • Wittenberg University -- This liberal arts college in Springfield, Ohio, has 1,720 undergraduates. The students gave the faculty an accessibility score of 99 and an interesting rating of 96.
  • Webb Institute -- The Webb Institute is a highly specialized school that focuses on naval architecture and marine engineering. The small student body of 81 students gave its professors an accessibility rating of 99 and an interesting rating of 89.
  • Claremont-McKenna College -- This liberal arts college in Pomona, Calif. has 1,552 undergraduates. The students agreed that their professors are very accessible (99) and interesting (98).
  • U.S. Military Academy -- The professors at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., received the accessibility rating of 99, and the students gave the profs a 91 for being interesting.



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