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The Princeton Review: Berea is one of ''The Best 371 Colleges''

Berea College is one of the country's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features the school in the new 2010 edition of its popular guidebook, "The Best 371 Colleges" (Random House / Princeton Review, July 28, 2009, $22.99).

Only about 15% of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and two Canadian colleges are profiled in the book, which is The Princeton Review's flagship annual college guide. It includes detailed profiles of the colleges with school rating scores in eight categories, plus ranking lists of top 20 schools in 62 categories based on The Princeton Review's surveys of students attending the colleges.

Berea is on the following ranking lists in "The Best 371 Colleges": Stone Cold Sober; Got Milk? and Scotch and Soda (Hold the Scotch) - three categories that reflect the view of students surveyed that there is more studying than partying going on at Berea.

In a "Survey Says. . ." sidebar in the book's profile on Berea, The Princeton Review lists topics that Berea students surveyed for the book were in most agreement about in their answers to survey questions. The list includes: “Low cost of living,” “Athletic facilities are great," and “Diverse student types on campus."

Says Robert Franek, Princeton Review's V.P., Publishing and author of "The Best 371 Colleges," "We commend Berea College for its outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for our choice of schools for the book. We also work to keep a wide representation of colleges in the book by region, size, selectivity and character. We make our choices based on institutional data we gather about schools, feedback from students attending them, and input from our staff who visit hundreds of colleges a year. We also value the opinions and suggestions of our 23-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, and independent college counselors we hear from yearlong."

The Princeton Review's 62 ranking lists in "The Best 371 Colleges" are entirely based on its survey of 122,000 students (about 325 per campus on average) attending the colleges in the book. The 80-question survey asks students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their campus experiences at them. Topics range from student assessments of their professors, administrators, financial aid, and campus food. Other ranking lists are based on student reports about their student body's political leanings, race/class relations, gay community acceptance, and other aspects of campus life.

The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges in the book academically, or from 1 to 371 in any category, nor do the rankings reflect The Princeton Review's opinion of the schools. A college's appearance on a ranking list is entirely the result of a high consensus among its surveyed students about a topic compared with that of students at other schools answering the same survey question(s) on the ranking list topic.

The school profiles in "The Best 371 Colleges" also have ratings that are based largely on institutional data The Princeton Review collected during the 2008-09 academic year. The ratings are scores on a scale of 60 to 99 that are tallied in eight categories. Among them are ratings for Admissions Selectivity, Financial Aid, Fire Safety, and Green, a rating The Princeton Review introduced in 2008 that is a measure of school's commitment to environmentally related policies, practices and education. Among the ratings in the profile on Berea College are scores of 92 for admissions selectivity, 86 for academics and 89 for being “green.”

The Princeton Review posts the school profiles and ranking lists in "The Best 371 Colleges" on its site at which users can read FAQs about the book, the survey, and the criteria for each of the ratings and rankings.

"The Best 371 Colleges" is the 18th edition of The Princeton Review's annual "best colleges" book. Over the years, the book and its ranking lists have been favorably cited by former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (among others). It is one of 165 Princeton Review books published by Random House in a line that also includes "The Complete Book of Colleges" and "The Best Northeastern Colleges," the 2010 editions of which will be published Aug. 4, 2009.

The schools in "The Best 371 Colleges" are also part of 640 colleges and universities that The Princeton Review commends in its website feature, "2010 Best Colleges: Region by Region - Northeast / Midwest / Southeast / West."

The Princeton Review ( is known for its tutoring and classroom test preparation courses, books, and college and graduate school admission services. Its corporate headquarters is in Framingham, MA, and editorial offices are in New York City. It is not affiliated with Princeton University and it is not a magazine.

Berea, the South’s first interracial and coeducational college, focuses on learning, labor, and service. Berea charges no tuition, admitting only academically promising students, primarily from Appalachia, who have limited economic resources. All students must work 10 hours weekly, earning money for books, room and board.

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