(Photo: Thomas Aquinas College)
The Catholic students of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., are the "most religious" among students from the nation’s top schools, according to The Princeton Review’s latest college ratings.
The students of Bennington College in Bennington, Vt., meanwhile, are the least, revealed the recently published findings.
Based on a survey of 122,000 students at 371 of the “best” colleges in the country, the new lists report the top 20 colleges in 62 categories ranging from those related to academics and demographics to those related to politics and the quality of life. Among the most notable are “Most Conservative Students,” “Most Liberal Students,” “Gay Community Most Accepted,” “Top Stone-Cold Sober Schools,” and “Happiest Students,” among others.
"Each of our 371 'best' colleges offers great academics," says Robert Franek, vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. "However, we don't rank schools academically because our goal is to help students find and get into the best school for them. Instead, we tally 62 ranking lists based how students at these schools rated their campus experiences, plus ratings based on institutional data we collect on issues important to applicants. It's all about the fit."
This year, the data collected boosted Thomas Aquinas above last year’s “Most Religious” leader, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, which dropped to No. 2 this year. Following the Catholic school and the Mormon school was Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., the alma mater of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, which also came in No. 3 last year.
Last year’s No. 2 rated school, the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ill., meanwhile, dropped to No. 8.
All data, compiled for the 2010 edition of The Princeton Review’s annual college guide “The Best 371 Colleges,” was drawn from an 80-question survey that asked students about their school's academics, administration, campus life, student body, and themselves.
Responses from students who completed the survey during the 2008-09 and/or previous two school years were considered.
The following is a list of the top 20 schools with the “Most Religious Students” (the other 61 lists can be found at princetonreview.com):
1. Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, CA
2. Brigham Young University (UT)
3. Wheaton College (IL)
4. Hillsdale College
5. University of Dallas
6. Grove City College
Grove City, PA
7. College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, MO
8. University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN
9. Furman University
10. Samford University
11. Baylor University
12. Calvin College
Grand Rapids, MI
13. Texas A&M University--College Station
14. United States Air Force Academy
USAF Academy, CO
15. Pepperdine University
16. Catholic University of America
17. St. Anselm College
18. Brandeis University
19. Auburn University
20. University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT