For the second year in a row, students at Brigham Young University, Thomas Aquinas College, and Wheaton College were crowned the “most religious” among students from the nation’s top schools.
But this year, Mormon institution BYU beat out Catholic Thomas Aquinas for the top spot while Evangelical Wheaton College – the alma mater of renowned preacher Billy Graham – remained in third, according to the Princeton Review’s latest college ratings.
Based on a survey of 122,000 students at 373 of the “best” colleges in the country, the Princeton Review’s 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,” “LGBT-Friendly,” “Top Stone-Cold Sober Schools,” and “Happiest Students,” among others.
"Each of our 373 best colleges offers great academics and we salute them for that," remarked Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of the Princeton Review and author of "The Best 373 Colleges."
"However,” he added, “they differ widely in their program offerings and campus culture.”
“That's why we don't rank them 1-373. Instead we tally 62 ranking lists based entirely on how students at these schools rated their experiences at them. We also compile eight rating scores for each school based on our institutional research. For applicants, it's all about finding your best fit college," Franek stated.
According to the Princeton Review, the happiest students were found on the campus of Brown University in Rhode Island; the most conservative were at Texas A&M; and the most politically active were at American University in Washington, D.C.
The most liberal, meanwhile, were found on the campus of Hampshire College in Massachusetts; the most LGBT-friendly at Emerson College in Massachusetts; and the least religious at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
To determine its rankings, the Princeton Review had students fill out an 80-question survey about their school's academics, administration, campus life, student body, and themselves. The average number of students surveyed per campus for this year’s list was 325.
Surveys included for the rankings were taken during the 2009-10 and/or previous two school years.
The following is a list of the top 20 schools with the “Most Religious Students” (the other 61 lists can be found at www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings.aspx):
1. Brigham Young University (UT)
2. Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula, CA)
3. Wheaton College (IL)
4. Hillsdale College (Hillsdale, MI)
5. University of Dallas (Irving, TX)
6. Samford University (Birmingham, AL)
7. College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, MO)
8. University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN)
9. Grove City College (Grove City, PA)
10. Baylor University (Waco, TX)
11. Furman University (Greenville, SC)
12. Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
13. Saint Louis University (Saint Louis, MO)
14. United States Air Force Academy (USAF Academy, CO)
15. Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
16. Creighton University (Omaha, NE)
17. Catholic University of America (Washington, DC)
18. Brandeis University (Waltham, MA)
19. William Jewell College (Liberty, MO)
20. Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, IN)