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Florida Colleges Make Princeton Review Rankings

Random House

Alcohol is apparently pretty popular at the University of Florida, students at New College are active in politics but not so much in sports, and studying isn't necessarily a priority at some Florida universities.

Those are just some of the conclusions that one might draw looking over the Princeton Review's new book, The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 edition.

Schools are ranked in 62 categories, ranging from best financial aid and best party school to colleges with the worst libraries and least politically active students. The rankings are based on surveys of 130,000 students at the 379 schools (read more about the rankings here).

While the University of South Florida didn't place in the top 20 of any of those categories, its overall performance was enough to make Princeton Review's list of the Best 379 Colleges.

Four Florida schools posted second place finishes in a variety of categories, the best performances of state schools.

University of Central Florida came in second in Best Health Services and New College of Florida in Sarasota was the second Easiest Campus to Get Around (Rollins College in Winter Park came in seventh).

University of Florida and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg took the kind of runner-up honors that probably won't be on the next recruitment brochures: UF placed second in the "Lots of Beer" category (Florida State was third), while Eckerd was second in "Reefer Madness," which apparently refers to marijuana use by students (more on the two school's habits can be found below).

UF placed tenth on the list of best party schools, followed closely by rival FSU at twelfth. Syracuse University took the title of "Best Party School." In addition to taking second in the beer category, UF also placed fifteenth in the "Lots of Hard Alcohol" category.

New College also placed in a number of other categories. While being the state's sole representative on the list of schools with the best financial aid for students, coming in at tenth, cuisine apparently isn't the college's priority, placing third in a category called "Is It Food?"

New College also ranked seventh among Most Politically Active Students, ninth in Most Liberal  Students and LGBT-Friendly and thirteenth in a category that apparently didn't need a definition: "Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians." Eckerd College squeaked into that latter category, coming in at twentieth.

On the other side of the political engagement spectrum sat University of Tampa, which placed third in a category called "Election? What Election?"

When it came to Most Beautiful Campus, Florida joined California as the only states with two schools in the top ten: Rollins College at sixth and Florida Southern College in Lakeland at tenth. Pepperdine in Malibu at second and Scripps College in Claremont at fifth were California's entries.

University of Miami's dorm system apparently doesn't measure up, placing thirteenth in the "Is That A Dorm?" rankings. UF's Independent Florida Alligator placed twelfth among best college newspapers.

Florida Southern College came in thirteenth in the "Lots of Greek Life" category, while FSU placed sixth on the list of "Jock Schools," with UF eleventh.

In other sports and extracurricular activity-related categories, Florida Southern was twelfth and FSU fourteenth in "Everyone Plays Intramurals," while FSU was seventeenth and UF twentieth in "Students Pack the Stadiums." UF also had the nineteenth best athletic facilities.

Some schools don't put the same emphasis on sports: New College was fifth in "Nobody Plays Intramurals" and eleventh in "There's a Game?"

And Florida put four schools into the "Students Study the Least" category, with UCF in tenth, Flagler College in St. Augustine eleventh, FSU thirteenth, and University of Tampa sixteenth.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.