The Princeton Review rates the 373 Best Colleges for 2011

The Princeton Review test-prep company has released the 2011 edition of its annual guide to The 373 Best Colleges. Unlike the more-hyped U.S. News & World Report rankings, The Princeton Review doesn’t presume to rank schools from absolute best to absolute worst. Instead, it rates schools in a wide array of categories, with top performers and laggards in each one.

Also in contrast to the U.S. News rankings, which are based on statistics and surveys of faculty and administrators, The Princeton Review’s rely on the opinions of students – 122,000 of them at 373 colleges and universities all over America this year. This makes The Princeton Review guide about the closest thing to peer review from a student point of view.

Herewith are some of the featured academic, financial and demographic categories in The 373 Best Colleges, with the schools that topped (or bottomed) the list in each one:

Princeton Review's best and worst academic experiences

Professors get high marks: Reed College, Portland, Ore.
Professors get low marks: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Most accessible professors: United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Least accessible professors: University of Toronto

Students study the most: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
Students study the least: University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.

Class discussion encouraged: Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, New York
Class discussion rare: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.

Best college library: Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
This is a library?: Bradley University, Peoria, Ill.

Schools you can and can’t afford

Great financial aid: Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass.
Financial aid not so great: Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, Calif.

Diversity and religious values

Lots of race/class interaction: University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla.
Little race/class interaction: Trinity College, Hartford, Ct.

LGBT-friendly: Emerson College, Boston, Mass.
LGBT-unfriendly: Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.

Most religious students: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Least religious students: Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, N.Y.

Read more about on- and off-campus life

For rankings of more schools in all categories, visit The Princeton Review's website.