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University of Maine makes Princeton Review list of nation’s top universities

For the second time in as many years, the University of Maine has been chosen by Princeton Review as one of its “Top 385 Colleges” in America, an honor only 13% of the nation’s 3,000 four-year colleges and universities are awarded. Famed mostly for its annual college rankings, the Princeton Review, which is unaffiliated with Princeton University, has published more than 150 print and digital books on America’s higher learning institutions and assists millions of students with test preparation, tutoring and college admission services.   

Princeton Review’s “Top 385 Colleges” ranking is compiled using data gathered from interviews with university administrators and students and through an analysis of each institution’s athletic and collegiate life. While compiling this year’s ranking, Princeton Review surveyed more than 140,000 students on topics ranging from financial aid, health services, party atmosphere (or lack thereof) and accessibility for students of minority backgrounds and sexual orientations. The responses were later converted into quantitative data, allowing the Review to then compile their list.

“We chose the 385 colleges for this edition as our ‘best’ overall, academically, based on data we gathered in 2018-19 from more than a thousand school administrators about their schools’ academic programs and offerings,” Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief and lead author, said of his rankings. “We are well aware, however, that applicants need more than an academic assessment to choose the colleges best for them. We created our dozens of ranking lists specifically to facilitate that search. We tally our lists using data we gather directly from our surveys of students attending these colleges. Our survey asks the students about their professors, administrators, school services, campus culture, and other facets of life at their schools.”

Among UMaine’s academic disciplines praised by students during their contact with Princeton Review, those in the business, engineering and education colleges, and in the marine science,  animal science, music and forestry programs, were given particular attention. Students were similarly praiseworthy of the university’s financial aid assistance and scholarships, aspects on which Princeton Review’s rankings place significant weight.  

Maine’s student athletics and recreational atmosphere garnered favorable attention throughout a number of Princeton Review’s surveys, with Division I programs, such as football and hockey, and intramural competitive events receiving specific acknowledgment. The rankings, which contributed to the recognition of Division I sports, were compiled after UMaine’s impressive performance in last year’s Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) football playoffs. Respondents also described UMaine’s populace as welcoming and its community as diverse and accepting. 

“There is a unique sense of Maine here, and we are quite united under the Black Bear banner,” a student anonymously told the Review.

“We are delighted to be recognized by several ranking organizations for our hallmarks of outstanding academic commitment, affordability and access for our students,” R. Lizzie Wahab, UMaine’s vice president for enrollment management, said in a statement. “UMaine has forged a strong reputation for many years and while we are not surprised, we are certainly grateful that Fiske Guide and the Princeton Review recognize our academic reputation, combined with the fact we are in the great state of Maine.”

Princeton Review’s summer ranking is the second of its kind to recognize UMaine as among America’s best institutions of higher learning. In July, “Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2020” included UMaine in a list of “the country’s best and most interesting colleges and universities;”  and in January, Princeton Review recognized UMaine’s online graduate programs in business administration and education as among the best in America.

Those with further interest in Princeton Review’s ranking can learn more by visiting their website at, or by contacting Margaret Nagle at 207-581-3745.     

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