SANTA PAULA, CA-Thomas Aquinas College is one of the country's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features the 4-year, Catholic school in the new 2010 edition of its popular guidebook, The Best 371 Colleges (Random House / Princeton Review, July 28, 2009, $22.99).
Of special note in this year's report on Thomas Aquinas College is that the school is one of only 13 in the country to be named to the first-ever "Financial Aid Honor Roll," receiving a highest possible rating of 99. It also received a rating of 99 for its academics, and is one of the "Top 50" institutions in the country. Further, it is ranked in the Top 20 in 8 of 62 additional categories, including as #1 for "Most Religious Students."
Noting that the report is based largely on what students themselves say about the institutions that are profiled, Thomas Aquinas College President Peter L. DeLuca said, "It is gratifying indeed to see how pleased our students are with their educational experience on account of both our rigorous academic program and our generous financial aid policy. I am also delighted to see the spiritual fervor of these young people recognized by The Princeton Review."
This flagship annual college guide by The Princeton Review profiles only the best of America's 2,500 four-year colleges - about 15% of them. It includes detailed profiles of the colleges with school rating scores in eight categories, plus ranking lists of top 20 schools in 62 categories based on The Princeton Review's surveys of students attending the colleges.
Says Robert Franek, Princeton Review's V.P., Publishing and author of The Best 371 Colleges, "We commend Thomas Aquinas College for its outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for our choice of schools for the book….We make our choices based on institutional data we gather about schools, feedback from students attending them, and input from our staff who visit hundreds of colleges a year."
In its profile on Thomas Aquinas College, The Princeton Review quotes extensively from Thomas Aquinas College students who were surveyed for the book. Among their comments about their campus experiences is this one about their teachers: "'The academic experience is amazing….This journey, when it is not self-inspiring, receives the infallible impetus from all the professors at the school, who are inspiring models of inquiry, wonder, and disciplined understanding." And there is this comment about the program as a whole: "The goal here is 'to discover the truth by studying the greatest minds of Western thought,' and students agree that this approach 'far out-strips most others because eternal truth is the end goal, not just some credentials for a job later. Not accidentally, this does actually produce more capable, honest, and self-giving individuals.'"
The Princeton Review's 62 ranking lists in "The Best 371 Colleges" are entirely based on its survey of 122,000 students (about 325 per campus on average) attending the colleges in the book. The 80-question survey asks students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their campus experiences at them. Topics range from student assessments of their professors, administrators, financial aid, and campus food.
In a "Survey Says. . ." sidebar in the book's profile on Thomas Aquinas College, The Princeton Review lists topics that Thomas Aquinas College students surveyed for the book were in most agreement about in their answers to survey questions. The list includes: "Class discussions encouraged," "No one cheats," and "Dorms are like palaces."
The school profiles in "The Best 371 Colleges" also have ratings that are based largely on institutional data The Princeton Review collected during the 2008-09 academic year. The ratings are scored on a scale of 60 to 99 that are tallied in eight categories. Among the ratings in the profile on Thomas Aquinas College are scores of 94 for "quality of life" and 98 for "admissions selectivity."
The Princeton Review posts the school profiles and ranking lists in "The Best 371 Colleges" on its site
The schools in "The Best 371 Colleges" are also part of 640 colleges and universities that The Princeton Review commends in its website feature, "2010 Best Colleges: Region by Region - Northeast / Midwest / Southeast / West."