The Princeton Review ranked Geneseo as one of the country’s best institutions for undergraduate education in its book The Best 381 Colleges: 2017 Edition, and the Washington Monthly Magazine ranked Geneseo third out of 634 master’s universities in the country for its contributions to the public good in terms of social mobility, research and service. These rankings are open to interpretation for potential incoming Geneseo freshmen as well as current Geneseo attendees.
The Princeton Review’s The Best 381 Colleges and the Washington Monthly Magazine aim to feature America’s best colleges. The reviews mainly rely on student surveys and feedback when deciding where to place schools on nationwide lists and when creating categorical rankings. Specifically, the Princeton Review utilizes roughly 375 student survey respondents per university campus to develop the rankings.
The Princeton Review’s Senior Vice President and Publisher Robert Franek previously stated that Geneseo’s outstanding academics are the chief reason the school is included on the list of the country’s best institutions for undergraduate education. According to the Princeton Review’s actual categorical rankings, Geneseo has an average academic rating. The academic rating analyzes student assessments of professors, average class size, student-professor relationships and other classroom factors. Based on a scale of 60 to 99, Geneseo received a ranking of 75.
“If you have a school like ours with a high volume of students, and really high quality professors, there is this perception that those two do not mix,” Geneseo’s Vice President for Enrollment Management Meaghan Arena said. “If you have smart students, the students do not need help and do not seek them. None of those things are true, but I think sometimes those rankings are based on perception rather than actuality.”
Geneseo received a higher admissions ranking from the Princeton Review—86—but the score does not display minute admissions trends within Geneseo. Students’ high school test scores, high school GPAs and the school’s acceptance rate are shifting. Geneseo’s acceptance rate for applicants has climbed to 73 percent and the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen have fallen.
“When you have fewer high school graduates and you have all of these colleges that want to continue to have the same amount of students, you will encounter a supply and demand problem,” Arena said. “I think that when you admit more students you wind up seeing your SAT average diminishing.”
The mean SAT score for the Class of 2020 is 1233. In the past, incoming Geneseo freshmen maintained SAT scores that were relatively higher.
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Gail Glover asserts that Geneseo’s rankings are still strong and that the college should continue to emphasize them.
“Rankings are just one of the tools that most prospective students and their families use when they start looking at colleges, so I think it’s important that we highlight these types of accolades and recognition,” she said.
Glover is responsible for a wide range of functions at Geneseo, including marketing, public relations and reputation building. She recognizes that public rankings lure students to school visits.
“The recognition speaks to our strong reputation for providing an excellent education, and for prospective students and their families,” she said. “It reinforces what they have already heard or read about Geneseo—that the college is an outstanding choice.”
Clarification: September 23, 2016
In this article we referenced Geneseo's fall 2015 acceptance rate. The acceptance rate for the class of 2020 was 67 percent.