The rankings list William & Mary at 12th in the "Happiest Students" category, up two spots from 14th last year. Additionally, the College ranked eighth in both the "Professors Get High Marks" and "Best College Library" categories. The College's "green rating" improved, climbing from a 90 last year to a 93 this year.
"We're delighted to see the nation's second oldest institution of higher education recognized for exceptional faculty, happy students and a great library - all important elements of an engaged learning environment," said William & Mary Provost Michael R. Halleran. "We're also pleased to see our green rating continue to climb from a score of 84 two years ago to 93 in the most current rating. William & Mary faculty, staff and students care about the environment and it shows."
The rankings are part of "The Best 373 Colleges: 2011 Edition," which is this year's version of The Princeton Review's annual college guidebook. The listings are based on surveys sent to 122,000 students across the nation. The Princeton Review does not give schools an overall ranking between one and 373. Instead, the book includes 62 ranking lists of "top 20" colleges in various categories. In addition to the green rating, William & Mary's Academic rating improved two points to 94 and Campus Life improved one point to 91. The Admissions rating was 97, Financial Aid received a rating 81 and Fire Safety a score of 76, according to Princeton Review.
According to survey responses included in the William & Mary entry in the book, the College's "happy" students enjoy life at the historic university, which offers not only a challenging and rewarding academic environment but also a variety of activities, traditions, organizations and local entertainment options.
"I write for the newspaper, sing, and volunteer with a food kitchen," said one student responder. "That's pretty representative of the student body."
The faculty members who garnered eighth place for the second consecutive year in the "Professors Get High Marks" category were also praised by students in the survey responses.
"They are the best teachers I have ever had," said one student. "They are passionate about what they teach."
Swem Library continues to perform well in the Princeton Review rankings, finishing eighth in the category two years ago and seventh a year ago. It's one more piece of good news for the library in recent years. In 2009, the library announced its best fundraising year ever with more than $5.2 million raised in cash receipts, gifts in-kind, pledges and realized estate provisions. In 2005, the library completed an extensive renovation and expansion that transformed the 1965 168,000-square-foot building into a state-of-the-art university library facility totaling more than 268,000 square feet.
The green grade is another testament to the College's commitment to excellence. The current grade of 93 is a huge leap from the 84 the College received two years ago in the guidebook's inaugural green ratings. In those two years, a campus-wide initiative was launched to improve environmental sustainability at William & Mary. In 2008, students elected to charge themselves a "Green Fee" that would go toward facility improvements, student grants for research on environmental issues and a "Green Endowment." And in fall 2008, President Reveley appointed a Committee on Sustainability (COS) to administer the fee, which raises more than $200,000 annually. Recently, the College launched the "Do One Thing" sustainability campaign and announced plans to build an eco-village for research, learning and community outreach.