APPLETON, WIS. — Lawrence University provides one of the nation’s best undergraduate educational experiences according to the 2010 edition of The Princeton Review’s annual book “The Best 371 Colleges” released today (7/28).

The book profiles 371 colleges — less than 15% of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges — along with rating scores in eight categories. The book also includes ranking lists of top 20 schools in more than 60 categories ranging from most politically active to best athletic facilities. Those rankings are based on more than 122,000 surveys, in which students were asked to rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences.Princeton-Rev.-Book-Cover_w.jpg

Lawrence ranked in the top 10 nationally in two of the student-survey categories: sixth in most accessible professors and 10th in best college theatre program, up from 12th in the same category last year. A college’s appearance on a ranking list is 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 topic.

Using a scale of 60-99, with 99 the best, Lawrence earned rating scores of 96 in academics, up from 90 a year ago, a 95 in financial aid, 94 in admissions, 92 in campus life, which measures students’ satisfaction with their lives outside the classroom, including the location of the campus, the comfort of residence halls and the quality of food, among other factors. Lawrence also received an 83 in the “green” category, a rating based on a schools’ environmental commitments. The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges in the book 1 to 371 in any single category.

“Our faculty do an extraordinary job of making themselves accessible to our students and in providing opportunities for individualized learning experiences. It’s great to have The Princeton Review affirm that level of faculty engagement,” said Steve Syverson, vice president for enrollment and dean of admission. “While the outstanding ratings for our academics and financial aid were not surprising, we are delighted at the improved rating of the ‘greenness’ of our campus community and expect it to rise even more next year. Many faculty and students have made significant commitments to enhancing our institutional commitment to environmental stewardship.”

In its profile of the college, The Princeton Review defined the Lawrence experience as “intense academics extreme, involvement in extracurricular activities, and a near-obsession with music.” Quoting students who were surveyed, the book describes Lawrence as a place where “professors are really willing to work one-on-one with students.” The student body is seen as having a wide variety of interests, producing “an intellectually stimulating– not academically cutthroat–environment” that fosters both academic and personal growth.

“Each of our ‘best’ colleges offers great academics,” says book author Robert Franek, vice president of publishing at The Princeton Review. “However, we don’t rank schools academically because our goal is to help students find and get into the best school for them. We tally ranking lists based how students at these schools rated their campus experiences, plus ratings based on institutional data we collect on issues important to applicants. It’s all about the fit.”

The book’s entire ranking lists can be found at www.PrincetonReview.com.