Students on Cornell Mall
Students walk along Cornell Mall on UNM's main campus.

The University of New Mexico has once again been selected as one of the outstanding institutions profiled in “The Best 380 Colleges" (Penguin Random House / Princeton Review Books), seventh annual edition. The Princeton Review, the education services company known for its test prep programs and college rankings, ratings and guidebooks, shows UNM 62 in the Quality of Life category; 64 in Academics; and 77 in Admissions. 

Inclusion in the book is based on a survey in which 136,000 students at 380 top colleges are asked to rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences.

"Our 62 ranking lists provide students with a way to see the types of colleges that could help them achieve their future goals and dreams," said Robert Franek, Princeton Review's Senior VP-Publisher. "Every college in our book has outstanding academics. While our purpose is not to crown one college academically 'best' overall or to rank the schools 1 to 380 on any single topic, our lists provide direct student feedback on the schools' campus culture, program offerings and cost. Our goal is to help applicants choose and get into their dream college—the college best for them."

UNM students had a lot to say about quality of life on campus. They felt that UNM offers “hundreds of great student organizations” and provides many “opportunities for fun events. Everyone seems to find their niche.” Offering another opportunity to become more involved on campus, the Greek community “makes up a lot of the senate and other extracurricular activities.”

Students often leave campus for the excellent night life in Albuquerque. They also take advantage of the weekly free movies at The Cellar in the Student Union Building, and to stay active, they work out at Johnson Gym. Students added that hanging out at the duck pond is a great way to pass time between classes in warmer months, and “during the winter season, there are numerous ski resorts and places to go snowboarding that are not far away.”

“While we don’t chase the various ratings and rankings as goals on their own, I appreciate seeing the students' feedback. On the whole, it was a positive description of our university and it shows that our students appreciate UNM’s strengths.” –  Provost Chaouki Abdallah

In the academic category, students cited UNM as a place to receive a “solid education” in a beautiful setting. “UNM offers academic excellence...through tough classes and some of the best teachers.” Students also cited affordability and excellent scholarships awarded to both in-state and out-of-state applicants as a decisive factor in attending UNM. The affordability also extends to “amazing opportunities to travel abroad.”

The education program and variety of science programs—including Earth and Planetary Sciences, biology and the pre-med and nursing programs—also attract students. Students praised the faculty as “very knowledgeable” and caring. “Professors are approachable both in class and out, and talk to and with you, not just at you. It’s very easy to come to instructors outside of class with questions, and most professors are willing to meet with you at your convenience.”

As for UNM’s greatest strengths, students mentioned both the “research-oriented staff” and “the research opportunities available.” Oftentimes, the research can be performed with top-of-the-line equipment nearby at Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Labs and other well-known research institutes. In UNM’s collaborative environment, students often work together and are eager to form study groups.

Also, students who need additional help can rely on academic support with “tutoring, study groups and supplemental instruction for most courses.”

Students repeatedly cited UNM’s diversity as its greatest strength, and one student stated that “no one will ever feel ethnically alone [at UNM] because there are so many different kinds of people,” which means “people never get boring,” and “you meet someone different every day.”

In addition to the diversity, the prevailing atmosphere is a friendly one where…“people get along regardless of origin. Like any school, there are cliques...but that doesn’t mean they don’t interact with each other.”

One student reserved special praise for the university, “UNM is sensitive and very engaged with its diverse population of students...concerned with facilitating in-depth inquiry and learning.” And more than one student observed that at UNM, “everyone brings something to the table.”

UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah said, “While we don’t chase the various ratings and rankings as goals on their own, I appreciate seeing the students' feedback. On the whole, it was a positive description of our university and it shows that our students appreciate UNM’s strengths.”