August 10, 2018

Princeton Top 20 lists hail WPI, Clark; not so much Becker, Assumption

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Four Worcester colleges made Top 20 lists in The Princeton Review's annual college rankings released earlier this month, although some probably wish they had not.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, Becker College and Assumption College all made the lists, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

Becker College placed fifth in students who study the least, 12th in worst library, 10th in lack of political awareness and 17th in least beautiful campus.

Assumption was high on the list of schools with a lack of political awareness, ranking second behind only University of Rhode Island.

Despite some inclusion on negative lists, all four schools, including Becker and Assumption, were named to Princeton Review's unranked list of the 384 Best Colleges in the country.

In a press release, Assumption College pointed to its inclusion in that list, which is not ranked by any metric.

"Deepening and broadening the foundations of students' learning in their major and minor fields of study, the college community cultivates the habits of mind, learning practices and skills, passion for truth, and love of wisdom that are hallmarks of an Assumption College liberal arts education," said President Francesco Cesareo. "The college community is proud to be recognized by The Princeton Review and our student body for our strong academics and welcoming campus."

Becker College officials did not immediately return a request for comment Friday morning.

On the flipside, WPI was hailed as a well-oiled machine, placing fifth in best-run colleges. The school ranked fifth in best career services, 14th in best science lab facilities, 18th in students who study the most and 20th in race/class interaction.

The only blemish for WPI in Princeton Review's rankings is the school's political awareness, as it ranked 16th in lack of political awareness.

Clark University received generally positive rankings, placing 16th in LGBTQ friendliness, 13th in students most engaged in community service, 12th in most liberal students and 18th in happiest students.

The rankings, which span 62 different categories and involved participation from 384 different institutions across the country, are based entirely on what students attending the schools tell the college admissions company about their higher education experiences via a student survey.

Each of the categories has a list, all of which are based on surveys of 138,000 students. The lists report the top 20 colleges in the specific category.

The survey has 80 questions in four sections about academics and administration, life at their college, their fellow students and themselves.Students answer by selecting one of five answer choices that range across a grid or scale. The answer choice headers might range from "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree" or "Excellent" to "Poor."

Massachusetts schools held the largest presence this year in the category "Election? What Election?" which is based on answers to the question: "My level of political awareness is: Very High, High, Average, Low, or Very Low."

Assumption College, Gordon College, Becker College, UMass Amherst and Worcester Polytechnic Institute were all among the top 20 for schools with students who have a low level of political awareness.


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