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Smith, Area Colleges Listed in New Student Guide

It’s not exactly a college ranking, but a new book of quirky top ten lists for American colleges ranks Smith and three of the four other Five College institutions among its various categories.

The Students’ Guide to Colleges, a new college guidebook published by Penguin Books, surveyed thousands of college students across the nation and compiled their responses into a compendium of top ten lists.

Some of the categories, such as “Top 10 Misunderstood Schools,” are a bit amorphous. Others, like “Top 10 Schools You’ve Never Heard Of” poke a little fun, but in good humor.

Smith College, for its part, is listed among the “Top 10 Schools in Amazing Locations” (schools are not ranked within the categories). “When studying is done, students at these colleges live in some of the best cities or towns to have fun,” says the explanation of the category. “They love their surroundings, and their place in them.”

About Smith, a student listed as “Cary, a Psychology major from Northampton, MA,” says “Smith is in the middle of a great, liberal, artsy town…There’s definitely a lot of interaction between the town and Smith; people from the town will even attend our theater productions and sporting events in the springtime. The athletic fields are connected to the old state hospital grounds right near campus, so there are lots of joggers with cute dogs, and also a river which is great for swimming on those hot New England days.”

Joining Smith on the list are the universities of California-Berkeley, Colorado at Boulder, Texas at Austin, Michigan in Ann Arbor, George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), New York University and Tulane (New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina notwithstanding), as well as Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Oregon), and the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia).

Of the other area colleges, Mount Holyoke is listed among the “Top 10 Sleep-Deprived Schools.” Mount Holyoke student “Shana, an Undecided major from Brattleboro, VT,” says, “Everyone here is involved in a billion different activities. I even had a friend who had to schedule showering time into her date book!”

Hampshire College made two categories in the book. It’s considered among the “Top 10 (or 15) Schools for Different Types of Students,” as well as the “Top 10 Schools with Unconventional Attitudes.”

And the University of Massachusetts is one of the “Top 10 Fun-Loving Schools,” those with students “who love to party.”

Among other Seven Sisters colleges, Wellesley was called one of the “Top 10 Most Intellectual Schools.” Vassar joins Hampshire College on the list of “Top 10 Schools with Unconventional Attitudes.” And Barnard, Bryn Mawr and Wellesley are listed among the “Top 10 Misunderstood Schools.”

Seven Sisters colleges and others in the area that may refute their listings can take heart that at least none of them made the book’s first list: "Top 10 Schools You’ve Never Heard Of."

The Students’ Guide to Colleges is likely not essential reading for prospective students seeking the best school to begin their matriculation. But the book is a fun read and who knows, for some, maybe being one of the Top 10 Schools in Amazing Locations is a foremost criterion for making their choice.

The Students’ Guide to Colleges was released nationally earlier this month.

9/14/05

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