While students may be curious about how their school ranked - and for what - in the new survey results by Princeton Review, administrators don't put much stock in the findings.
"The Princeton Review is not one of the guidebooks that college admissions officers take very seriously because of the way the data is gathered," said Barbara Goyette, vice president of college advancement at St. John's College in Annapolis. "The Princeton Review sometimes uses data that is a couple of years old. It's not very scientifically conducted."
St. John's came in No. 1 for encouraging classroom discussion, which is not surprising considering the school's Socratic teaching method. "We view [the survey] as entertainment value, not as a good tool for choosing colleges," Goyette added.
At Johns Hopkins University, where students who completed the survey ranked the school's food very low, the administration encourages students to refer to the rankings put out by U.S. News & World Report instead. On the Princeton Review list, Johns Hopkins came in 12th for the worst food. "It has no credibility whatsoever. It does not even pretend to be a scientific survey," said Dennis O'Shea, spokesperson for the school. "You can tell by the sensationalist categories that they attempt to rank."
Here are some of the other Maryland listings; all show how the colleges ranked among the top 20 schools in each category:
St. John's College, Intercollegiate sports unpopular/nonexistent, 7
U.S. Naval Academy, Everyone plays intramural sports, 6
Naval Academy, Alternative lifestyle not an alternative, 4
Naval Academy, Students from different race/class backgrounds interact, 7
Naval Academy, Stone-cold sober schools, 3
Naval Academy, Students most nostalgic for Ronald Reagan, 4
Johns Hopkins University, Is it food?, 12
University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Diverse student population, 3
University of Maryland-College Park, Great college newspaper, 13