Socially conscience politicos looking for palatial digs in a first-class university city should attend GW, according to The Princeton Review’s Best 366 Colleges guidebook.
GW recently received top marks as “most politically active school,” third in both the “dorms like palaces” and “great college town” categories and was called a “school with a conscience.” The 62 categories of rankings are based on surveys from university students and have featured GW in the past.
“In our opinion, each school in this book is a ‘best’ when it comes to academics,” said Robert Franek, the book’s author in a news release. “We compile rankings in multiple categories to give college applicants and their parents . a wide range of information to decide which of these academically outstanding colleges will be best for them. It’s all about the fit.”
Unlike other ranking lists, The Princeton Review relies solely on student-supplied information received from online and paper surveys. Senior editor of the book Adrinda Kelly said students are the experts in the experiences they are having at college and rankings that focus on solely academics are of no use to prospective students.
“At the end of the day a number of institutions.are going to be able to offer a student a great academic experience,” Kelly said. “A bigger question is if this college is going to be a good fit.”
The highest distinction bestowed to GW, “Most Politically Active,” comes shortly after both GW’s College Democrats and College Republicans received awards from their respective national organizations for being particularly active and successful. The GW College Democrats received second place in a national chapter of the year contest.
“We truly have the most politically engaged student body in the country,” said Michael Weil, communications director of the CDs. “I really think that the entire campus political climate, coupled with the school’s unique location in the heart of Washington contributes to us winning this distinction.”
Michael Akin, director of Foggy Bottom/West End Affairs, said rankings are better seen as a guide and should not be read into too much, but he does agree with the Princeton Review’s “Best College Town” distinction.
Akin said many universities and hundreds of thousands of college students call D.C. home and the area is bound to be a prime location for the college crowd. For GW especially, it’s all about how seamlessly the campus blends into the city.
“Our campus is so ingrained in the life of the city . you walk out of your residence hall door and you are in Foggy Bottom, you are in D.C.,” Akin said. “There is that automatic connection which makes it a very positive place to be.”
Akin said GW encourages students to leave the Foggy Bottom bubble and experience D.C. at places that epitomize what D.C. is really about. While students do tend to take advantage of the city, Akin emphasized the close relationship between the Foggy Bottom residential neighborhood and the school.
“By having a university as part of a residential neighborhood, not only is it more vibrant, but safer,” Akin said. “Our students look out for each other. There’s a lot of mutual benefit.”
Many prospective students use services provided by companies like The Princeton Review and rankings are often part of the decision making process. For Alex Reustle, a freshman majoring in political science, the rankings definitely affected his decision to attend GW, especially the “politically active” category.
“The location, quality of the town and dorms were (also) major draws for me,” Reustle said.
For freshman Kate Byom and her parents, the reputation of the school was an important aspect, but the location was what really got them.
Kate’s father John Byom said, “GW had the one thing that none of the other (schools) have a great location.”