11 Illinois Colleges Make Princeton Review’s 2021 ‘Best’ List

Christel Deskins

ILLINOIS — The Princeton Review this week released its annual list of the country’s best colleges. This year’s list, which features 386 schools, includes 11 schools in Illinois.

The 2021 Best 386 Colleges were selected based on “our high opinion of their academics,” the Princeton Review said in announcing its newest list. The organization said it monitors colleges “continuously and annually” to collect data on more than 2,000 schools.

In determining the “best,” The Princeton Review said it also visits schools and communicates with hundreds of college administrators in compiling its assessment.

“We pay close attention to the feedback we get about colleges from students, parents, educators, and our own staff at The Princeton Review locations across the country,” the organization said.

Here are the Illinois colleges named among the country’s best by Princeton Review:

  • Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, 1,629 Full-Time Enrollment

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, 33,955 Full-Time Enrollment

  • Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, 12,240 Full-Time Enrollment

  • The University of Chicago, Chicago, 6,734 Full-Time Enrollment

  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, 2,900 Full-Time Enrollment

  • DePaul University, Chicago, 14,214 Full-Time Enrollment

  • Northwestern University, Evanston, 8,327 Full-Time Enrollment

  • Knox College, Galesburg, 1,258 Full-Time Enrollment

  • Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, 1,538 Full-Time Enrollment

  • Bradley University, Peoria, 4,606 Full-Time Enrollment

  • Wheaton College, Wheaton, 2,395 Full-Time Enrollment

Princeton Review also announced which of the “Best” schools earned a place in its 29th annual college rankings, as well as what priorities administrators are focusing on this academic year.

Not surprisingly, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is top of mind.

This year’s administrator survey polled 179 college leaders on their outlook for the year amid COVID-19-related challenges. In their responses, college officials said social distancing and maintaining health and safety on campus remain their biggest priorities.

Administrators ranked financial aid as likely to be the greatest concern among students.

Here are the key findings from this year’s administrator survey:

  • Just over 1 in 8 respondents (14 percent) reported the percentage of in-state students in their school’s incoming first-year class is higher than it was in 2019, while 6 percent reported it is lower than it was in 2019.

  • More than 9 out of 10 (93 percent) reported their schools were making COVID-19–related modifications in classrooms, labs, residence halls and dining halls.

“COVID-19 has presented sobering challenges for school administrators and educators, as well as daunting decisions for students and their parents,” Robert Franek, editor-in-chief at Princeton Review, said in a news release. “What impressed us in our administrator survey findings is the flexibility many colleges built into their reopening plans, especially those giving students options to study remotely or on campus with health and safety protocols in place.”

Finally, Princeton Review determined 2021 college rankings based on surveys taken by students attending this year’s “Best” colleges. Surveys are available year-round on Princeton Review’s website.

In the survey, students are asked to rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences. The top 20 schools are then compiled and ranked in 62 different categories.

Rankings cover everything from academics, to administrative services, financial aid, campus amenities, alcohol use, the student body’s political leanings, race/class interaction, LGBTQ community acceptance and more. The ranking lists are based on surveys of 143,000 students at the colleges.

See the full list of each highest-ranked college, according to category. Other rankings are available online.

Patch Regional Managing Editor Kara Seymour contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Across Illinois Patch

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