7 Maine colleges listed among best in the region by The Princeton Review

Prospective students and their parents tour the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick in March 2009.
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Prospective students and their parents tour the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick in March 2009.
Posted Aug. 21, 2012, at 7:27 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Seven Maine colleges have been named to The Princeton Review’s list of best northeastern colleges, with Bowdoin College in Brunswick listed as having the best quality of life for students in the region.

Bates College of Lewiston, Bowdoin College, Colby College of Waterville, College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, University of Maine in Orono, University of Maine at Fort Kent and the University of Southern Maine in Gorham were named among the 220 best colleges in 11 northeastern states.

Across the nation, 629 schools were named best regional colleges by The Princeton Review, a New York-based company known for its test preparation, college admission and other educational services. It is not affiliated with Princeton University.

Other geographical regions listed were southeastern, midwestern and western.

“The recognition bestowed upon our campus with this eighth-consecutive Best Northeastern College ranking by the prestigious The Princeton Review, is especially significant because it is a student-based selection,” said University of Maine at Fort Kent President Wilson G. Hess in a statement issued Tuesday. “It serves to showcase what many of us already know — that is UMFK has a dedicated and professional faculty and staff; an engaging student body; and prepares students for careers and a lifetime of learning.”

The Princeton Review’s selections are chosen based on institutional data, school visits by the reviewers, opinions from independent advisers and student experiences based on responses of an 80-question survey. On average, about 125 students per campus were surveyed, according to The Princeton Review’s website.

“[The] Princeton Review nailed it,” said College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins in a statement. “COA students are challenged to think and work beyond their comfort zone by our excellent, passionate and extremely devoted faculty.”

Each of the 629 colleges also was rated in 63 different areas, with only the best or worst 20 listed in each category. The College of the Atlantic was listed eight times in the top — or bottom — 20. Bates and Bowdoin were listed five times, UMaine four times, and Colby three. The University of Southern Maine and University of Maine at Fort Kent did not place in any category.

Students at Maine schools have some of the best food choices in the country, according to The Princeton Review’s report. Bowdoin was voted best campus food in the country, with the College of the Atlantic placing seventh and Bates placing 11th.

Bowdoin students had the best quality of life in the nation, according to the ranking. The school also was second for happiest students and sixth in best college dorms. Bowdoin was also 10th in best-run colleges.

Colby’s professors received high marks, ranking them 10th in the nation. The school was also 13th in most popular study abroad programs.

The University of Maine ranked four times, but all in unflattering statistics. UMaine was listed as the 19th best party school in the country. It also ranked ninth in least happiest students, sixth in least accessible professors and 20th in students that study the least.

Bates and Colby were listed 10th and 14th, respectively, as schools with students who preferred beer over other beverages.

The College of the Atlantic was sixth nationally for most liberal students and 13th for most politically active students. It was listed 14th for encouraging class discussions and ninth in being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friendly.

The environmental liberal arts college was apathetic in sports categories, as it ranked second for worst student attendance of games and third in least number of students participating in a sport. COA students also apparently did not rate their library highly, ranking eighth for worst library.

Bates’ home, Lewiston, received negative marks in terms of strained college-city relations (10th) and for students’ grading the college city (12th). However, the institution had the 12th-best college-run radio station.

For information, visit www.princetonreview.com.

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