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Are Best Value Schools Really a Good Bargain?

yale universityI recently posted a blog about the Top 10 Best Value Colleges in the U.S. It made sense to me why these were good schools. They have reasonable tuitions, are respectable schools, and the average student debt is lower at these schools than the national average student debt upon graduation. But according to an article in CBS’ Moneywatch, maybe I should rethink my opinion of these schools.

Evidently the people at the Princeton Review who ranked the top public and private  best value schools forgot to take something very important into account: Scholarships.

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This offer is expired. See current offers from The Princeton Review here.

College entrance and grad school exams are a thorn in the side of any college-bound student. But no matter how much you don’t want to take them, your desire to score well should be higher. The Princeton Review has long been a respected resource for students, as they offer top-notch study prep courses for a variety of exams.

princeton reviewEvery day, when you visit this page at The Princeton Review, readers receive a special 10% discount on a number of online and classroom prep courses. Also, for online resources, books and tips on GRE exam preparations, visit ExamGenius – they hold a wide collection of books reviewed in detail that will help first timers and those planning to retake the exam. LSAT and other examination books are available too.

During September, that discount has been extended to save $150 on SAT on ACT Essentials courses (9/1/09-/30/09), and save $250 on MCAT, LSAT, GMAT and GRE classroom or LiveOnline Courses (9/1/09-10/1/09).

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Read on to learn more about what The Princeton Review can do for you! Read the rest of this entry »

10 Best Value Colleges in the United States

When it comes to paying for a college education, everyone’s looking for a bargain — and thanks to the Princeton Review, students have some help looking for the best deals.  According to the Princeton Review, here are the top 10 “best value” colleges in the United States.

university of virginia

1. University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA) Read the rest of this entry »

Tip: Find Out How Happy Students are With Financial Aid

When looking for a school– and thinking about how to pay for it– one helpful piece of information is this: how happy are students with financial aid?  This means two things: (1) how happy are they with the actual financial aid package they receive, and how fair do they think this is, and (2) how happy are they with the human being at the school assigned to help students with the difficult task of finding money for school?

How can you find this information?  For one thing, ask around.  Talk to students and find out what they think of the financial aid system at their schools.  For another, check out various college ranking systems to find the best and worse schools for financial aid.

According to The Princeton Review, these are the 10 schools where students are happiest with financial aid:

  1. Princeton
  2. Stanford
  3. Pomona College
  4. Harvard
  5. New College of Florida
  6. Thomas Aquinas College
  7. Beloit College
  8. College of the Atlantic
  9. Wabash College
  10. Claremont McKenna College

And, according to The Princeton Review, these are the 10 schools were students are most unhappy with financial aid:

  1. New York University
  2. Emerson College
  3. Penn State
  4. Rutgers
  5. University of Mary Washington
  6. Hampton University
  7. Amherst College
  8. University of Colorado
  9. Spelman College
  10. SUNY Purchase

My alma mater, Rutgers, is on this list, which is no surprise!  The people in the financial aid office were scary mean, at least when I went there.  It was a shock to me when I went to grad school and somebody in the financial aid office offered to help me with my financial aid materials.  Imagine that!

    Effective Way to Narrow Down College Choices

    As the deadline creeps closer for our college folders to be turned in, I realize just how ahead of many of my classmates I am. When I started my whole college search process, it was an absolute mess. I felt overwhelmed because of just how many schools I had to choose from and all the different factors that could play into my choice.

    I myself have decided to apply to 10 colleges. I have read in multiple sources that 8 is a good number of colleges to plan on applying to, while anymore than 10 is a little much. How many colleges a students decides on applying to depends heavily on just how much time the student has to devote to applying to each school. And if you realize you don’t have time to apply to a lot of schools then don’t apply to a large amount of schools. All of my colleges are small liberal arts schools, and while most are in the Midwest, I have a few that are located along the east coast. Looking back though, I have realized that keeping myself organized really helped me narrow my list down.

    best collegesOne of the biggest helps was This website, after creating a free online account with them, allows you to search through profiles of colleges online and allows you to build a list of schools that you could see yourself applying to. After making such a list with them, their site then will allow you to compare schools and look at different numbers and facts about each school, which really helped to see most of the numbers I wanted to see. When it came to student opinions on the school though, I relied on my book “The Best 366 Colleges” by Princeton Review. This book not only lets you see the numbers like the websites, but it also gives you insight into the student life, campus activities, and application due dates. The book even gives student quotes and explanations, which is nice getting a student produced response rather than the college feeding you a bunch of information that’s been sugar coated to make the college look even better.

    So when you begin your college search, I would suggest going online and snooping around there. Also, I would advise you to either buy a copy of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 366 Colleges” or a book that is similar so that you not only get a view point on the college from the college, but also the view point of a student that attends the school.

    The Top Green Colleges and Universities in America

    The Princeton Review has completed its annual 2009 college rankings list–and this year, they’re ranking the top green schools in America.  While many schools have made strong efforts in recent years to recycle, reuse, and become more sustainable, these are schools who have made sustainability a major mission of everyday life at the school.  Here’s their Green Rating Honor Roll (in alphabetical order):

    1. Arizona State University
    2. Bates College
    3. College of the Atlantic
    4. Emory University
    5. Georgia Institute of Technology
    6. Harvard College
    7. SUNY Binghamton
    8. University of New Hampshire
    9. University of Oregon
    10. University of Washington
    11. Yale University

    College of the Atlantic

    One particularly noteworthy college on this list: the funky College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.  This truly amazing school only has about 300 students, and all of them study human ecology.  The school is a child of the environmental movement, and students not only study about sustainable lifestyles–they live one.  This net-zero carbon emissions campus even grows much of its own organic food for the cafeteria, and assists other campuses at becoming more green.  If you’re really interested in environmental issues (and don’t mind going to school on a stunningly beautiful, but isolated island), this might be the place for you!

    One impressively green college that The Princeton Review overlooked: Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Among other things, this progressive campus receives a good deal of its energy from wind power.

    Hooray for The Princeton Review for creating this progressive ranking!

    Princeton Review says Clemson Students are the Happiest

    The newly published Princeton Review sites Clemson as having the happiest students.

    How does your school compare? What makes the students happy on your campus?


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