The University of New Mexico is one of the country's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review, which features UNM in its 2011 edition "The Best 373 Colleges."

Only about 15 percent of America's 2,500 four-year colleges and two Canadian colleges are profiled. It details profiles of the colleges with rating scores for all schools in eight categories, plus ranking lists of top 20 schools in 62 categories based on The Princeton Review's surveys of students attending the colleges.

Academically, students were quoted as saying UNM offers a "solid education" and "academic excellence through some of the best teachers and tough classes." UNM 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." At UNM, "there is something here for everyone." The education program and variety of science programs—including Earth and planetary sciences, biology, and the pre-med and nursing programs—also attract students.

Some students express frustration with it at times being "difficult to work your way around the student services system," but the "very knowledgeable" teaching faculty are roundly praised as "teachers who care." UNM students also agree that "professors are helpful genuinely interested in personal success." Professors are approachable both in class and out and "talk to and with you and 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 cite both the "research-oriented staff" and "the research opportunities available. Oftentimes, research can be done with top-of-the-line equipment at nearby at Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Lab, and other research institutes. In UNM's collaborative environment, students also 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 selected UNM's "diversity" as its greatest strength, and one student stated "no one will ever feel ethnically alone since there are so many different kinds of people." At UNM, "people never get boring," and "you meet someone different every day." In addition to the diversity, the prevailing atmosphere is friendly where "people get along regardless of origin," but "like any school there are cliques…but that does not mean they do not interact with each other."

The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges in the book academically or from 1 to 373 in any category. Instead it reports in the book 62 ranking lists of "top 20" colleges in various categories. The lists are entirely based on The Princeton Review's survey of 122,000 students (about 325 per campus on average) attending the colleges in the book and not on The Princeton Review's opinion of the schools. The 80-question survey asks students to rate their own schools on several topics and report on their campus experiences at them. Topics range from assessments of their professors as teachers to opinions about their financial aid and campus food. Other ranking lists are based on student reports about their student body's political leanings, race/class relations, and LGBT community acceptance.

The schools in guide also have ratings that The Princeton Review tallies based on institutional data collected from the schools during the 2009-10 academic year and/or its student survey for the book. The ratings are scores on a scale of 60 to 99 and they appear in each school profile in eight categories including: Academics, Admissions Selectivity, Financial Aid, Fire Safety, and Green, a measure of school's commitment to environmentally-related policies, practices and education.

The UNM profile notes scores of 72 for quality of life, 70, fire safety and 91 for green.

The Princeton Review explains the basis for each rating score in the book and at Princeton Review College Ratings.

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