Princeton Review’s new ‘Best 385 Colleges’ list: Boston takeaways

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The Princeton Review dropped its list of the “385 Best Colleges” on Tuesday, and Boston-area schools are well represented.

As expected, big names like Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern are highlighted, as well as Bentley University, Emerson College, Simmons University, and Suffolk University. UMass Amherst also made the list.

“We chose the 385 colleges for this edition as our ‘best’ overall, academically, based on data we gathered in 2018–19 from more than a thousand school administrators about their schools’ academic programs and offerings,” Robert Franek, The Princeton Review‘s editor-in-chief, said in a news release. “We are well aware, however, that applicants need more than an academic assessment to choose the colleges best for them. We created our dozens of ranking lists specifically to facilitate that search.”

These rankings, which are lists of the top 20 in each category, use data from student surveys, according to the release. The Princeton Review polled about 140,000 students.

Here are some takeaways from the rankings:

The top five alone of this list includes Bentley at No. 3 and Northeastern at No. 4. Overall, the top 20 includes Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham at No. 14 and Emerson at No. 15.

UMass Amherst has the best food

When it comes to dining, the UMass flagship has the best campus food, according to The Princeton Review. In fact, it was the only Massachusetts school to make the list (Bowdoin College in Maine was second). The university also ranked No. 27 on the “Top 50 Green Colleges” list.

There are other areas where UMass Amherst didn’t do so hot. It’s listed as No. 20 on the “Election? What Election?” list, which polled students on political awareness, and is listed at No. 13 on both the “Least Accessible Professors” and “Least Beautiful Campus” lists.

The worst campus food in the Boston area goes to…

Simmons, which was placed at No. 4 on the “Is it Food?” list. Also in the top 20 for the worst food was Bentley at No. 9.

Boston ranks highly as a college city

On the “College City Gets High Marks” list, Northeastern and Suffolk are No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. Simmons also appears at No. 13.

Some area schools made the ‘Least Happy Students’ list

On the “Least Happy Students” list, which is based on a survey asking how much students disagree with the sentence, “I am happy at my school,” Simmons landed at No. 2. But it wasn’t the only Boston-area school on the list – Emerson came in at No. 13, Suffolk at No. 19.

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