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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 23, 2001

On Campus
UH-Manoa in the eyes of students

By Jennifer Hiller
Advertiser Education Writer

The results of an unscientific but entertaining study are in: The University of Hawai'i officially does not rate among the nation's top party schools.

Although that will come as no new flash to those who attend UH-Manoa, they may be interested to know that their campus did show up elsewhere on the Princeton Review's annual list of things collegiate.

According to the survey of more than 300 universities, UH ranks 18th on the list of universities whose professors make themselves scarce; 19th on the list of schools whose students almost never study; and second on the list of students dissatisfied with financial aid.

The Review draws up the lists based on a 70-question survey given randomly to some 65,000 students. Students rate their own schools, based on matters of such importance as the consumption of alcohol and marijuana.

The Princeton Review is a division of New York-based Random House publishers. It is not affiliated with Princeton University.

Fair enough

While many people could give or take these kinds of ranking surveys (especially college administrators, who spend plenty of time trying to refute them and picking apart the methodology), some of the comments from students about the campus seem pretty fair.

In a summary of what UH-Manoa students say about their own campus, the Princeton Review noted that the school has a range of strong programs, especially in international business and travel industry management. "Its mid-Pacific location also offers unique opportunities for the study of Asian and Pacific cultures and the natural sciences — particularly marine science," it said.

Students said they weren't happy about the recent budget cuts or the rise in tuition, but liked the school's online and phone registration system.

The professors received both accolades and abuse, but the survey ultimately concluded that "life is pretty good in general" at Manoa, in part because the weather is perfect year round and it's a "relaxing study environment."

The most dubious of the Princeton Review's winners is the nation's best party school. This year it was the University of Tennessee, followed by Louisiana State University.

Weekend drinking

As far as the social scene at Manoa goes, a lot of drinking goes on during the weekends, it says. Of course, that could apply to any college campus in the nation (except those that made the list of Stone Cold Sober universities — Brigham Young University and the military academies).

"UHM is by no means a party school, though," the Princeton Review summary said, noting that many students work more than one job. "Not too surprisingly, these folks have little time to participate in the party scene. The school's largely nontraditional student body produces a campus social scene typical of many commuter schools: reasonably active during the week but somewhat dead on weekends."

Another interesting observation by the Princeton Review: The campus is "totally gorgeous."

As I said, an entertaining survey does not necessarily mean an accurate one.

Reach Jennifer Hiller at jhiller@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8084.