Despite low marks in many categories, Temple has been featured in a book highlighting America’s top colleges and universities.
The book-The Best 345 Colleges- has been published yearly by The Princeton Review since 1992.
The selection committee considers both academic excellence and the quality of the programs offered to students, according to Erica Magrey, one of the book’s editors.
Temple and the other 344 colleges on the list ranked among the top 10 percent of all colleges considered by the editors, she said.
The book includes a profile of each school, as well as a series of lists that compare colleges on a number of different criteria.
Although Temple mostly appears on negative lists, students generally report positive feelings about their school in the university’s profile, calling it a “fine urban institution” with “standout music, art, pre-professional, communications, and theater programs.”
Students also praised Temple’s diversity, athletic facilities, computer technology, and location; Temple ranked 18th on the list of “Great College Towns” due to its close proximity to Center City and ease of access to public transportation.
On the negative side, Temple ranked 6th in “Students Dissatisfied With Financial Aid,” 7th in “Professors Suck All Life from Materials” and 15th in “Least Happy Students.”
Administrators are wary about the accuracy of such data, however.
“I do not pay attention to these rankings because they surveys are not systematic or representative of the student body,” said Temple President David Adamany, “In fact, you can’t even find out how many students from a given school responded.”
“In a sociology or political science class, we would give low grades to students who based conclusions on [the methods] of data collection used by the Princeton Review,” he said.
“Unfortunately, many parents and students are not [savvy] about data methods, so they get exploited by the various ranking outfits, like the Princeton Review, which makes a pile of money by selling these ‘studies.'”
The Princeton Review surveys students in person every three years by traveling to the school’s campus. Students can also fill out questionnaires online.
Results from online surveys are combined with in-person surveys to update the book’s listing each year.
The survey asks students questions about their opinions on academics, administration, college life and the social aspects of their campus using a combination of free-response and multiple choice questions.
“Each school has a character and a personality that cannot be captured through academic rankings,” said Magrey, “This [method of ranking] allows prospective students to receive candid responses from students, who are the real experts on their school.”
The college profiles in the book summarize the comments received from students about the school as well as facts about the school provided by the administration.
The profile also provides tips to prospective students regarding the school’s admissions process based on information that current students give in the surveys.
Jessica White can be reached at SSparkleJ1@aol.com.