Princeton Review rankings continue to be a source of pride for Vanderbilt

Popular ranking system for categories of campus life releases 2020 lists


Emily Gonçalves

Vanderbilt’s campus from an aerial view, as photographed on September 1, 2019. (Photo / Emily Gonçalves)

Will Fritzler, Staff Writer

Vanderbilt’s national profile continued to rise earlier this month with Princeton Review’s release of its 2020 Best College rankings. The most talked-about rankings for Vanderbilt were the two in which it finished first: most loved college and best quality of life. Both are improvements over Vanderbilt’s 2018 rankings in those categories: sixth and third, respectively.

Most loved colleges are determined by how strongly students agree with the statement “I am satisfied with my school,” and quality of life by several survey questions covering campus safety, beauty and location; dorms and food; administration; friendliness of fellow students and general happiness. Vanderbilt also placed second in happiest students behind Auburn, up from third last year.

Princeton Review creates its rankings using 140,000 annual eighty-question online surveys of students at what it calls the best colleges in the United States–usually around 385 schools–based on academic reputation and feedback from administrators.

Students typically assign a 1-5 rating to their school in response to questions covering all major aspects of college life, including academics, social life, athletics, housing/food and off-campus activities. All student rankings in a particular category are averaged to determine the top 20 schools in each of Princeton Review’s 62 sets of rankings.

Vanderbilt appeared on 14 other top 20 rankings, in the top 10 of nine of them. Those were: #2 best athletic facilities, #2 great financial aid, #2 best college cities, #4 most beautiful campus, #4 best-run colleges, #5 lots of Greek life, #7 great town-gown relations, #7 best food, #9 best professors, #10 most engaged in community service, #11 best theater, #14 best newspaper, #17 best dorms, and #18 best library.

“It is gratifying to learn that our students so deeply value and enjoy their Vanderbilt experience. It speaks to the University’s commitment to providing students with a supportive and caring environment” Dean of Students Mark Bandas said. “Regardless of rankings, we know all students experience the normal ups and downs of campus life and also have at times much more significant concerns. We are committed to providing mental health and wellness resources and support to all students based on their needs.”