Latest College Rankings List The Greenest

Princeton Review is out with its latest rankings of colleges nationwide, in all sorts of categories -- from the best classroom experience to the best party schools.

A new one -- the greenest colleges.

The overall look is called "The Best 368 Colleges -- 2009 Edition," and Princeton Review Vice President of Publishing Robert Franek stopped by The Early Show Tuesday to talk about it.

Princeton Review has published such lists every year since 1992, to help high school students select the schools that are best for them.

Franek points out that college advisers can only get students so far: The national ratio is one-counselor-to-every-400 students. With statistics like that, it's often up to the students to educate themselves on the sorts of colleges they're looking for, and the schools that best match their criteria.

It's not easy to rank as diverse a range of schools as The Naval Academy, Brigham Young, University of Florida and Bryn Mawr. How does Princeton Review do it? To start with, says Franek, it looks at quantitative data. What percentage of applicants is selected? How many are in and out of state? What's the average class size? What's the statistical average of SAT scores for incoming freshman?

While those stats are important, they DON'T really represent a school, or its personality. For that, Princeton Review turns to the students. It surveyed more than 120,000 students via e-mail (more than 80 questions for 62 separate ranking categories). And even then, Princeton Review admits, its guide isn't complete: This book only surveys 15 percent of the four year colleges in the U.S.

Franek says too many students and their parents put emphasis on too few schools, embarking on their search with a narrow vision of college admissions -- and the Princeton guide is tries to change that. He says the ideal way to use this book is to read the reviews of schools that might interest you and use them to flesh out your college visits. Use the reviews to write out some educated and interesting interview questions that will impress admissions officers. And remember, college admissions are often still a crapshoot: You could be the best flute player in all of the Midwest, but if the college of your choice already has an orchestra full of flute players, you could be left wanting.

Franek stresses that students and their families should keep in mind that there isn't just one school that's a good fit. There could be many. The book points applicants to schools similar to the ones they think they may be interested in. For instance, if you like Penn State, perhaps you should check out the University of Virginia, Harvard, Emory, Cornell or Lehigh. Leave all your options open.

And the main thing is: Try to make your search fun:

Some of the lists:

Green Honor Roll (in alphabetical order)

Arizona State University at the Tempe campus
Bates College (Lewiston, ME)
Binghamton University (State Univ. of New York at Binghamton)
College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, ME)
Emory University (Atlanta, GA)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
Harvard College (Cambridge, MA)
University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Yale University (New Haven, CT)

Best Classroom Experience

1. Stanford University
2. Reed College
3. Pomona College
4. Wabash College
5. Mount Holyoke College
6. Wellesley College
7. United States Military Academy
8. Middlebury College
9. Whitman College
10 Williams College

Happiest Students

1. Clemson University
2. Brown University
3. Princeton University
4. Claremont McKenna College
5. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
6. Stanford University
7. University of Dayton
8. Bowdoin College
9. The College of New Jersey
10 Tulane University

Party Schools

1. University of Florida
2. University of Mississippi
3. Penn State-University Park
4. West Virginia University
5. Ohio University-Athens
6. Randolph-Macon College
7. University of Georgia
8. The University of Texas at Austin
9. University of California-Santa Barbara
10 Florida State University

Students Happy with Financial Aid

1. Princeton University
2. Stanford University
3. Pomona College
4. Harvard College
5. New College of Florida
6. Thomas Aquinas College
7. Beloit College
8. College of the Atlantic
9. Wabash College
10 Claremont McKenna College

Best Career/Job Placement Opportunities

1. Northeastern University
2. Claremont McKenna College
3. Wabash College
4. University of Texas-Austin
5. Penn State-University Park
6. Sweet Briar College
7. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
8. Clemson University
9. University of Virginia
10. Barnard College

Diverse Student Population

1. City University of New York-Baruch College
2. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
3. City University of New York-Brooklyn College
4. University of Alabama at Birmingham
5. Temple University
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