By Nate Buchik
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 4, 2002
"Jock school" no more, UA is dropped from four lists and earns low scores academically
UA isn't what it used to be ö at least not in the eyes of this year's Princeton Review College ranking.
While UA was fairly popular in last year's rankings, making it onto six top 20 lists that compare academic and extracurricular life at 345 colleges and universities, UA showed up on only two lists of Princeton Review's "345 Best Colleges Guide," this year.
UA came in 14th in "students from different backgrounds interact" and 17th in "Students pack the stadiums," but dropped out of "College newspaper gets read" and "Town-Gown relations are good."
Last year, UA was ranked 5th in the "Jock School" category and 11th in "Everyone plays intramural sports."
UA was the top-ranked "Jock School" in 1999 and has slipped since.
Princeton Review's rankings don't mean much, said Jim Livengood, UA Athletic Director.
"It really isn't a concern. I spend no time at all looking at the rankings. I spend more time looking at the student athletes at the UA and how they are doing academically and athletically," Livengood said.
Making the top 20 out of 345 schools may not be vital, but the school also ranked low in overall scores from Princeton Review guide, which is compiled from 100,000 students surveyed.
On a scale from 60 to 100, UA scored 70 in academics and 67 in quality of life. Yet, some students maintained that students are also very important in raising academic standards.
"It really isn't a concern. I spend no time at all looking at the rankings. I spend more time looking at the student athletes at the UA and how they are doing academically and athletically.
UA Athletic Director
"My classes are challenging. Whatever school you are at, you (the students) have to make it difficult," media arts freshman Heather Wodrich said.
The rankings are divided into nine categories that cover all of college life including academics, politics and parties.
In the parties category, for example, the review groups the extremely festive schools in "Lots of hard liquor" or "Reefer madness" as well as the top 20 sober schools in "Scotch and soda, hold the scotch."
While the UA missed out on making major lists like "best academic school" ö Northwestern University ö or "best party school" ö Indiana University ö the two top 20 appearances did make some happy.
"I think that it is an honor because they do some pretty general research and they try to capture the different qualities of different institutions. And it's definitely a factor that students and families consider when looking at schools," said Dean of Students Melissa Vito.
While no Arizona school placed in the top academic categories, Arizona State University made several lists attributed to poor academics.
ASU ranked sixteenth in "Students almost never study," eighteenth in "Professors make themselves scarce" and third in "Class discussions rare."
The rankings, published each year since 1992, are based on a 70-question student survey. The Princeton Review, which is not affiliated with Princeton University, interviews about 300 students from each of the 345 campuses. The Review states "each of our rankings will give you an unbiased and uncensored view of each school profiled. The important thing to remember is that each ranking is based on what the real experts, current college students, tell us about their schools."
Anthropology senior Micala Rider doubted that students are the experts.
"That's ridiculous. Because what if they run into students like me, who don't go the games very often? That's a silly way to do rankings."
Livengood also doesn't agree that these rankings are the best view of how the school is performing. He said he prefers to find more objective sources for outside feedback.
"We (the athletic department) mostly pay attention to the Sears Cup," Livengood said. "It's based on how you athletically compete in championship play. It is objective, while these types of rankings are subjective. We don't spend a lot of time worrying about rankings because there's so many out there."