“Armed with a great national reputation,” Centre College has once again been named among the Princeton Review’s listing of America’s “Best 380 Colleges” in the 2016 edition of the annual college guide.
An honor earned by just 15 percent of the 2,500 four-year colleges and universities, the schools selected for the prestigious listing are distinguished as the nation’s most academically outstanding institutions—and inclusion is largely determined by those who know the colleges best: their students.
Uniquely employing a student survey that explores all aspects of campus life, the Princeton Review sidesteps the traditional overall numerical ranking by providing an intimate and candid review of each school in a way other rankings and college guidebooks do not. The survey process engages 130,000 students at the top 380 colleges in effort to generate a profile of each institution that features ratings and top-20 lists over a variety of categories.
Again this year, Centre received high marks in a number of areas, including the #5 spot for “most popular study abroad program,” as well as #14 for “easiest campus to get around.” Additionally, the College was named among the “Best Southeastern Schools” as well as “Colleges that Pay You Back” for its reputation as a top-value institution.
Notably, Centre’s “rigorous” academic program received impressive marks, with a rating of 93 of 99 possible points. On teaching alone, College faculty received a near perfect score, with a rating of 97 on “accessibility” and 96 on “interest and engagement.”
Student remarks reinforced these high ratings, identifying the College’s 10:1 student to faculty ratio and small classes as a “hallmark of a Centre education.” The College’s “excellent” faculty were also praised for offering a “huge amount of one-on-one contact” as well as their tendency “to push you to be more than you ever thought you could be.”
In other quantitative measures, Centre’s campus life received a rating of 86 for “quality of life”—an area supported by favorable student reviews in the “Survey says” section of the report.
The review noted that Centre “is a place where important conversations occur—in and out of the classroom,” with a diverse student body that is full of “passionate,” “driven,” “intelligent” and “open-minded” individuals. “You’ll find a large sampling of people here,” one student remarked. “Centre is one big giant family.”
The school is also recognized for its “work hard, play hard” mentality, with students not only dedicated to studying but also getting involved in groups like athletics, performing arts, student government, Greek life and smaller niche interests.
Beyond the classroom, Centre’s top-ranked study abroad program is distinguished as being impressively “robust,” with 85 percent of students participating in study abroad at least once during their four years at the College as part of the Centre Commitment. The guide also noted the ever-increasing study abroad options for CentreTerm, in addition to eight semester-long residential programs.
Ultimately, “Centre’s stellar academic reputation and exceptional commitment to remaining affordable” was acknowledged for leading to “extraordinary success” for its students.
As one of the nation’s top values in higher education, the review said “Centre offers a multitude of advantages,” including “great financial aid,” which is made available to 90 percent of incoming first-year students. The College’s admission process, which received a rating of 89 for selectivity, also lives up to its mission of making the Centre experience accessible to exceptional students regardless of income.
When evaluating outcomes, the bottom line, as the guide suggests, is “bang for your buck.” With alumni providing a “huge network in terms of postgraduate job search,” an average 97 percent of students are employed or in advanced study within a year of graduation. Those alumni—consistently ranked the nation’s happiest—remain among the most loyal and generous.
Learn more about Princeton Review’s The Best 380 Colleges: 2016 Edition.
Read about the review’s methodology.
by Amy Clark Wise
August 5, 2015