Introduction from the Author
Throughout the years of my college career at the University of Vermont, I have not only seen my growth retrospectively, I have felt myself grow—in age and in experience. I had the most wonderful time as a freshman, sharing personal stories with new faces and barely-met acquaintances. It was a time for personal explorations amidst a plethora of curious “first-years.” Our pasts and our dreams poured out, often into the late night or early morning, while new thoughts and ideas flowed forth from our minds as we expressed our knowledge of books, classes, friendships.
Sophomore year was a difficult one for me—more so socially than academically. But talking with friends and professors assuaged my itch to transfer, and by spring semester, I was once again my normal self. I took classes that challenged me and made me immerse myself in books, but still made time for friends and occasional parties. Ultimately, it all culminated after final exams when I published an essay from one of my classes in a scholarly journal based out of India. I had discovered one of my newfound passions, post-colonial literature and theory, which has propelled me even further into critical and literary circles and given me a glimpse into the world of academia.
And now, as I wrap up another year, even better than the last, I prepare for my senior year and the prospects for graduate school—always aware of how far I have come from my beginnings. I truly believe that the University of Vermont has afforded me opportunities that I would not have received elsewhere. Despite my uncertainties in the beginning of my second year, I have no regrets about choosing this as my school—it has truly been a wonderful experience. And now, more than ever, I am undoubtedly more open, more accepting, more intelligent, and I have both my school and myself to thank for that.
Kevyn Jonas Lenfest, Author
University of Vermont
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Welcome to College Prowler®
During the writing of College Prowler’s guidebooks, we felt it was critical that our content was unbiased and unaffiliated with any college or university. We think it’s important that our readers get honest information and a realistic impression of the student opinions on any campus—that’s why if any aspect of a particular school is terrible, we (unlike a campus brochure) intend to publish it. While we do keep an eye out for the occasional extremist—the cheerleader or the cynic—we take pride in letting the students tell it like it is. We strive to create a book that’s as representative as possible of each particular campus. Our books cover both the good and the bad, and whether the survey responses point to recurring trends or a variation in opinion, these sentiments are directly and proportionally expressed through our guides. College Prowler guidebooks are in the hands of students throughout the entire process of their creation. Because you can’t make student-written guides without the students, we have students at each campus who help write, randomly survey their peers, edit, layout, and perform accuracy checks on every book that we publish. From the very beginning, student writers gather the most up-to-date stats, facts, and inside information on their colleges. They fill each section with student quotes and summarize the findings in editorial reviews. In addition, each school receives a collection of letter grades (A through F) that reflect student opinion and help to represent contentment, prominence, or satisfaction for each of our 20 specific categories. Just as in grade school, the higher the mark the more content, more prominent, or more satisfied the students are with the particular category.
Once a book is written, additional students serve as editors and check for accuracy even more extensively. Our bounce-back team—a group of randomly selected students who have no involvement with the project—are asked to read over the material in order to help ensure that the book accurately expresses every aspect of the university and its students. This same process is applied to the 200-plus schools College Prowler currently covers. Each book is the result of endless student contributions, hundreds of pages of research and writing, and countless hours of hard work. All of this has led to the creation of a student information network that stretches across the nation to every school that we cover. It’s no easy accomplishment, but it’s the reason that our guides are such a great resource.
When reading our books and looking at our grades, keep in mind that every college is different and that the students who make up each school are not uniform—as a result, it is important to assess schools on a case-by-case basis. Because it’s impossible to summarize an entire school with a single number or description, each book provides a dialogue, not a decision, that’s made up of 20 different topics and hundreds of student quotes. In the end, we hope that this guide will serve as a valuable tool in your college selection process. Enjoy!
"This is the kind of information kids really want to know before they pick a college." --Michelle Slatalla, The NY Times, March 9, 2006
"...get viewpoints on a variety of topics from the student body, which is where the Prowler gets its roar." --Melissa Kaplan, Boston Globe, May 23, 2004
"There is information on which schools have packed computer labs, which dorms are studious or riotous, ..." --Ben Gilbert, The Washington Post, April 27, 2004
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