While the U.S. News & World Report rankings are arguably the best-known and most controversial, there are plenty of other ways to measure the college experience, from Seventeen magazine's "Schools With More Guys Than Girls" to the Princeton Review's list of colleges where "Students Pray on a Regular Basis." Here's a variety of ranking systems, the number one school acccording to each survey, where that school placed on the U.S. News listing of national universities with doctoral programs, and, if available, comments about the school:
* SEVENTEEN'S 50 Coolest Colleges: Rice University (tied for 15th in U.S. News survey). "Rice crowns our list not for a single spectacular feature but because it's near the top in every category: academics, great shopping (it's 10 minutes from the huge Galleria), vibrant campus life, cute boys of all stripes (from ambitious pre-med types to artsy English majors)."
* KIPLINGER MAGAZINE'S Top 100 Values in Public Colleges: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (tied for 28th).
* WASHINGTON MONTHLY'S Top 20 Colleges for Public Service: University of California, Riverside (second tier).
* NEW MOBILITY magazine's 1998 ranking of Disability-Friendly Colleges: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (No. 38). " . . . [I]t is UIUC's comprehensive support for students with disabilities, along with its unrivaled wheelchair sports program, that make it our top pick."
* MOTHER JONES'S Top 10 Activist Schools: Wesleyan University (11th, liberal arts colleges-bachelor's). "Only one week after 9/11, Wesleyan students -- organizing over the Internet -- coordinated a National Day of Action to send the message that they did not want to see terrorist violence met with war."
* PRINCETON REVIEW'S School Runs Like Butter: U.S. Air Force Academy (service academies were not ranked).
* CAMPUS SQUIRREL LISTINGS: U.C. Berkeley (No. 20). "The absolute best place I've found for a squirrel session. The lush landscaping supports lots of big fluffy Fox Squirrels and many of the students and visitors there seem to really appreciate them!" (www.gottshall.com/squirrels) -- Outlook