The University of Houston Magazine

Simply the Best

Princeton Review Names UH as One of America’s Top Colleges for Undergraduates.

By Eric Gerber (’72, M.A. ’78)

Read all about it — the University of Houston is one of the nation’s top schools for undergraduate education.

So says The Princeton Review, the widely known education services company. It has selected UH for inclusion in the next edition of its popular annual guide to the country’s best colleges. The publication will be available in bookstores in early August 2011.

This marks the first time UH has been included in the well-known roundup of America’s premier institutions. The significance of that acknowledgment was not lost on UH President Renu Khator.

“The Princeton Review’s guide, which is widely used by prospective applicants and their parents in selecting a university, is based, in large part, on the responses that enrolled students gave to surveys about their schools,” she said. “While that sort of opinion-based recognition may not be a part of our performance-based Tier One measures, it is still a very important indication of the growing reputation of our university.”

Princeton ReviewRobert Franek, senior vice president of publishing for The Princeton Review, said UH was chosen for “The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition” based on several criteria the publication considers when reviewing schools.

“First, we must have a high regard for their academic programs and other offerings,” said Franek. “Second, our selections take into account institutional data we collect from the schools and the opinions of more than 122,000 students who we survey. We also greatly value the feedback we get about schools from our college-savvy staff across the country as well as from students, educators and parents who use our services and books.”

Khator cited a number of factors she believes have contributed to an improved undergraduate experience at UH that likely earned the Princeton Review recognition, including:

  • Implementing an ambitious construction program to provide new academic, research and housing facilities for students, with projects to double campus building square footage from 6 million square feet in 2000 to more than 12 million square feet.

  • Adding state-of-the-art residence halls such as Cougar Village, Calhoun Lofts and the planned Cougar Place sophomore-housing complex, which continue to expand the community of more than 6,000 students living on campus.

  • Providing world-class dining facilities, such as the addition of the cooked-to-order Fresh Food Co. at Moody Towers — the first-of-its-kind facility in the Southwest and the largest in the nation.

  • Creating a living-learning environment on campus, where the Faculty-in-Residence program allows faculty and their families to live in the residence halls and interact with students.

  • Enhancing scholastic performance by raising admission standards and increasing the number of academic advisers.

  • Rewarding academic progress with the Graduation Pledge, which provides grants that can total $3,000 for students who complete at least 30 credit hours a year toward their degrees.

  • Providing incoming freshmen with Personal Assistance Liaisons — faculty and staff members who stay in touch with their assigned students throughout the semester, informing them about upcoming events and offering a human connection to the university.

“Student success is the top priority at UH, so this confirmation from The Princeton Review that we’re making real progress in that area is truly great news,” Khator said.

(To view a brief video of publisher Robert Franek discussing UH’s inclusion in the guide during his recent visit to the campus, please see: