In the Princeton Review’s annual college rankings, Penn State remains a force — both in social rankings and academic ones.
The recently released edition of The Best 378 Colleges: 2014 Edition, The Princeton Review ranks Penn State as the No. 9 party school in the nation, a small shift from last year’s ranking of No. 11.
The No. 1 ranking went to University of Iowa, Iowa City this year.
Though students have overwhelmed the message boards on The Princeton Review website with comments disagreeing or supporting their school’s party, academic and overall ranking, college administrators may share a different opinion of the questionable results.
“We have always indicated that the party school ranking is the most egregious and unscientific survey that really amounts to an online popularity contest,” Penn State Spokeswoman Jill Shockey said. “The Princeton Review is a survey based on particular questions. It is limited in its scope and doesn’t use a lot of follow up or similar questions to determine if what they may be seeing in one question is consistent with reality.”
While the ranking may pose as a concern for the Penn State administration and its actions to decrease the party culture at the university, students share a different perspective on the review’s results.
“I don’t think it should affect the reputation of Penn State because clearly we can balance both (social activities and education),” Craig Neely (senior-mathematics) said.
The survey — which polls tens of thousands of college students through a paper survey distributed throughout each campus — claims Penn State is also the No. 1 ranking in “lots of beer,” No. 18 in “lots of hard liquor” and No. 1 in “financial aid not so great.”
“[The lack of financial aid] affects a lot of students and I think it affects the amount of students that actually apply and come to this school,” Adriana Fatenko (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said.
Despite the negative rankings in the social aspects of the university, Penn State was also ranked No. 1 in “best career services,” No. 3 in “best health services,” No. 5 in “athletic facilities” and No. 11 in “best college library.”
“It's nice to be thought of so highly in categories including career services, health services and college newspaper (No. 5), but we'd rather have students and their families learn about Penn State from more official sources,” Shockey said.
Students may also be surprised to learn that Penn State was ranked No. 19 in “their students love these colleges,” a category focused on school spirit.
“It’s kind of surprising since everyone’s like “We Are!” Fatenko said. “But, yeah, I do find that very surprising [for Penn State].”
A full list of the Princeton Review rankings, including happiest students, most beautiful campus and lots of greek life, can be found on their website.
Carley Mossbrook can be reached at (814) 865-1828.