Princeton Review unveiled its annual “Best Colleges” rankings earlier this week and Oglethorpe once again was named among the Best Southeastern Colleges. And while Oglethorpe did not receive UGA’s top honors as the “best party school”–a dubious distinction indeed–OU did rank highly in some of the other categories that better qualify as “feathers in our cap.”
In the category “Professors Get High Marks,” Oglethorpe’s ranking climbed three spots from last year to #17 in the country. This hardly comes as a surprise, considering that 94% of OU professors possess terminal degress in their fields and 100% of OU classes are taught by faculty. On top of that, we hear time after time that the supportive professor/student relationship sets an Oglethorpe education apart from the rest.
Going hand-in-hand with that was our #14 placement for “Classroom Discussion Encouraged.” While this was a brand new category for Oglethorpe, it seems an obvious reflection of Oglethorpe’s emphasis on developing a “community of learners” in which individual participation and an interactive atmosphere in the classroom are valued.
OU was also recognized again for “Best College Theatre” at #18, a definitive nod to quality of our Theatre Program and the unique opportunity provided for students to gain practical experience both on-stage and off-stage with Georgia Shakespeare, the professional theatre-in-residence here on campus.
Oglethorpe’s top rating came in at #11 for “Lots of Race/Class Interaction,” another category in which Oglethorpe placed last year. Oglethorpe’s emphasis on diversity and inclusiveness, along with a commitment to service to the community no doubt influenced this ranking. Set in Atlanta, Oglethorpe values diversity and fosters an open, family-like atmosphere.
In considering these rankings, it’s interesting to note that only about 15% of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and two Canadian colleges are profiled in the rankings and the rankings are based solely on Princeton Review’s survey of 122,000 students (about 325 per campus on average). The 80-question survey asks students to rate their own schools on several topics and report on their campus experiences at them. This is a true reflection of the Oglethorpe experience.
Asked for his reaction to the rankings, President Schall summed it up:
“…For a school of our size to make four top-20 lists for such critical characteristics as class participation and faculty quality is extraordinary.”