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OU scores high in select categories in Princeton Review Best 385 Colleges List, but low in comparison to Miami

Ohio University was listed on The Princeton Review’s Best 385 Colleges list but did not rank as high as the only other Ohio MAC school on the list. 

The Best 385 Colleges list is comprised of data from a survey made by The Princeton Review, asking questions to approximately 140,000 students. Students were surveyed on a range of topics, including academics, financial aid and personal experience. 

Some of the results of those questions are put into individualized numerical ranking, ranging from a score of 60 to 99, for each school. Other results are put into rankings exclusively featured on a specific list, such as “Most Beautiful College Campuses.” 

Rankings shown for each college includes academics, admissions selectivity, financial aid, fire safety, quality of life, environmental sustainability of the institution (labeled as “green”), students’ opinions on the quality of professors (labeled as “Professor Interest”) and professor accessibility. 

“Our survey is an instrument to gauge campus sentiment for prospective students and their parents, realizing that not everyone can get onto a college campus to visit,” David Soto, Princeton Review’s director of content development, said.

OU, on a scale of 60 to 99, received a 78 for admissions selectivity, 66 for academics, 62 for both professor interest and accessibility, 76 for financial aid, 78 for quality of life, 89 for fire safety and 95 for its green rating. 

OU is also featured on the least accessible professors’ list, according to a previous Post report.

OU and Miami University are the only two Ohio MAC schools included on the list.

Miami scores above OU in admissions selectivity at 85, academics at 80, professor interest and accessibility at 84 and 83, respectively, financial aid at 79 and fire safety at 95 on the student surveys.

OU has recently been increasing efforts to attract students, according to a previous Post report. Those efforts include the OHIO Honors program, which would fit the Princeton Review’s criteria for ranking and could have the ability to increase scores in the “academic” category.

The university doesn’t push specific colleges for ranking increases quite like some other schools, Bill Reader, faculty senator for the Scripps College of Communication, said.

“At Ohio University, I think the message is more holistic and more sincere, and then we are encouraged to do the absolute best job that we can with the understanding that if we are all doing a good job, then the recognition will follow,” Reader said.

Reader also said although those rankings may have a use, they are not necessarily scientific. 

“What they're trying to do is … quantify the unquantifiable because they're making qualitative judgments about institutions that are inherently idiosyncratic,” Reader said.

Every university is unique, Reader said, and it is hard to compare each of them.

“There's so many variables at an institution that it is true that every university is unique in a certain way,” Reader said. “They may do similar things, and they may be structured similarly. But when you have that many different people doing that many different things at so many different locations, there's just really no way to make a fair comparison.”

To attempt to provide fairness within its survey, the Princeton Review surveys as many students as possible from each school, Soto said.

“We do our best to make sure that we get a representative sample, whether it's a large institution or a small institution,” Soto said. “It's not uncommon for us to survey every student on some campuses.”


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