The results are in for San Diego area colleges

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UCSD's Geisel Library (from 'ken mccown' via Flikr)

UCSD's Geisel Library (from 'ken mccown' via Flikr)

As we wind our way into August and the dog days of summer, many San Diego area students are preparing (or dreading) for the return to the classroom at campuses all over the county … unless you go to UCSD, of course, where their wacky schedule gets you another two months of summer.

U.S. News Best Colleges 2009With the arrival of the school year comes the reviews, the rankings and the good and bad of what our local colleges have to offer. One of the school-ranking heavyweights is the magazine U.S. News and World Report, which has been issuing the annual “America’s Best Colleges” report since 1985. The annual report has been consistently chided by school administrators for having a bias, but students, parents and administrators alike have become so reliant on the report over the years that in 2007 the magazine’s website received more than 10 million page views in the three days follow its release.

As far as the top national universities located in San Diego County, the highest ranking for 2009 went to UCSD, which ranked #35. University of San Diego (USD) finished just outside of the top 100, ranking at #102.

Best 366 Colleges from Princeton ReviewAnother report worth noting is the Princeton Review’s — which publishes an annual book titled The Best 366 Colleges. However, it is their top 20 lists that really attract attention and can often tell students and parents what a school is really like — as opposed to what you would read on the pamphlet or official correspondence.

A few San Diego area schools made these top 20 lists as well. UCSD did pretty well, USD had some troubles, and astonishingly, San Diego State (SDSU) didn’t even make the list! Here’s the rundown:


  • #18 — Great college towns
  • #6 — Most beautiful campus


  • #7 — Professors get low marks
  • #5 — Class discussions rare

Worth noting here is that SDSU, which was recognized as one of the country’s top-10 party schools in 2008 by Playboy, did not make the top-20 of any of the partying-related categories on Princeton Review — including categories like “Reefer Madness,” “Lots of Beer,” “Lots of Hard Liquor” and “Major Frat and Sorority Scene.” It looks like last year’s major bust of a frat for selling cocaine probably dealt the death blow to State’s party rankings, which is good or bad for the school depending on your views.

The other major four-year institutions in the county, Cal State San Marcos and Point Loma Nazarene University failed to make any of the top-20 rankings.

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