List of top 10 Colleges in the USA for the 'Best Overall Academic Experience'
I came upon this list while browsing the net. It came on a page in MSN and I thought it would be nice for students who are looking forward to going to the USA for higher studies. I am producing it below without doing much editing.
"The quality of your academic experience at college will be influenced by a number of factors. Are you being taught by TAs or professors? Is your institution focused more on research or teaching? How big are the classes and how easy is it to register? These are just some of the things we looked at to come up with the schools on our list. According to The Princeton Review's annual survey of 115,000 college students at the nation's Best 361 Colleges, these ten schools offer their students the best overall academic experience.
1. University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
"The academic nature of this school is evident everywhere," explains one student, "be it the music performed by the arts groups, the discussions during meals, or even the comments written in the bathroom stalls." The school's broad core curriculum "is often taught by top professors" including Nobel laureates. Don't expect any handholding: Professors "expect you to know the basic material and will focus much of their time on the more advanced applications of certain theories." For "seriously academic" students, Chicago is the best place in the world.
Students who considered University of Chicago also looked at Columbia University, Northwestern University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Georgetown University.
2. Stanford University (Stanford, California)
At Stanford, professors are "interested in getting to know students personally," although none of them is going to hold a student's hand.
Stanford students "take classes from people who write the textbooks that everyone else uses" and their in-class opportunities are supplemented by frequent visits to campus by "leaders in the fields of literature, music, science, and statesmanship." Perhaps the most important indicator of Stanford's superior academic experience lies in the brilliance of the students themselves: You'll be "constantly amazed at just how smart people are here."
Students who considered Stanford also looked at Columbia University, Harvard College, University of California-Los Angeles, and Yale University.
3. Rice University (Houston, Texas)
Students and professors form a strong academic community at Rice. "Professors become intellectual bridge-builders, and they take a real interest in the development of individual minds." This air of mutual respect is reinforced by the school's honor code, which "is taken very seriously." Undergrads here "are passionate about what they are learning" and while "there are no easy As," students here know they are getting "a great education, which is what we came here for."
Students who considered Rice also looked at Baylor University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, and Vanderbilt University.
4. Columbia University-Columbia College (New York, New York)
The combination of Ivy League status and an unbeatable location in one of the world's cultural epicenters makes Columbia University a place where students learn to "think about the world in ways that are new and occasionally uncomfortable.
" Columbia's "brilliant" and "inspiring" professors are tough graders but their "enthusiasm is contagious." With the help of an "eye-opening, thought-provoking" core curriculum that "prepares [students] to excel in any field," Columbia molds "well-rounded" students who "are very passionate about their interests."
Students who considered Columbia also looked at Brown University, Harvard College, Princeton University, and Stanford University.
5. Reed College (Portland, Oregon)
At Reed, students pursue education for its own sake, not for the financial rewards education may bring. As a result, "Reed professors are here to teach. They are hired for their teaching ability, promoted for their teaching ability, and granted tenure based on their teaching ability." In the classroom, professors use a discussion-oriented "conference-style" approach in which everyone is expected to contribute. One student notes, "If you're quiet, you'll learn to talk! In classes of fewer than ten people, it's impossible to hide in the corner."
Students who considered Reed College also looked at Stanford University, University of Chicago, Grinnell College, and Oberlin College.
6. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania)
Academics at Swarthmore are "amazingly flexible." Limited course requirements allow students to "explore whatever [they] are interested in" and even design their own majors.
Swarthmore's professors are dedicated to teaching and "challenge students to become knowledgeable" while forcing them "to create their own thoughts." Students also have access to some amazing resources: "The school has a lot of money and is very generous with spending it on undergrads, as there isn't anyone else to spend it on."
Students who considered Swarthmore also looked at Johns Hopkins University, Brown University, Williams College, and Hamilton College.
7. Middlebury College (Middlebury, Vermont)
"Top-rate" Middlebury College manages to offer the resources, facilities, and faculty excellence of a much larger school--while keeping enrollment for undergrads at around 2,400. As a result, Middlebury students receive lots of personal attention from professors who "actually teach," managing their "classes, advising, and research demands seamlessly." The "laid-back" attitude on campus can be a bit misleading: Students take tough classes and have "tons of homework" although they also find time "to breathe and have fun."
Students who considered Middlebury also looked at Amherst College, Dartmouth College, Harvard College, and Williams College.
8. Haverford College (Haverford, Pennsylvania)
Academic life at Haverford College starts with the Honor Code. The "honor code holds the students responsible for their learning, and trusts them to have both concern and respect for their fellow students. That is why our school has both unscheduled and unproctored final exams." Haverford students are "actively concerned and engaged" and often "voluntarily stay late to continue the discussions" after class has ended. With professors who "like teaching" and an administration that "makes time for student opinions," Haverford ensures that its students have an "incredible" academic experience.
Students who considered Haverford also looked at Carleton College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, and Bard College.
9. Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts)
At Williams College, "the academics are quite rigorous--expect to spend six hours a day studying--and the professors definitely challenge you." Students say that there's "no place better for an undergraduate to study any of the hard sciences or art history" and appreciate a curriculum that "encourages original thinking." Williams's popular winter study program in which students "take one relatively low-stress class" and "hang out a lot" ensures that students enjoy a healthy balance to offset their academic intensity.
Students who considered Williams also looked at Amherst College, Dartmouth College, Hamilton College, and Colgate University.
10. Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts)
Wellesley's motto--"Not to be served, but to serve"--is evidenced in the intensity and scope of the curriculum, the "amazing, inspiring faculty," and the school's success in sending students on to graduate school and careers in a wide variety of areas. Wellesley's seminar-style classes mean that "there is more discussion than you would expect in a college class." The school's dedicated faculty "will do everything to assure you get into grad school" and its Alumnae Association is "full of amazing people" who help students find "internships [and] jobs."
Students who considered Wellesley also looked at Mount Holyoke College, Boston College, Harvard College, and Brown University.
(The article has been written with the help of a report in The Princeton Review)
(R) thedailystar.net 2006