In the 2020 Edition of The Princeton Review’s “The Best 385 Colleges” published in August, Seton Hall University was ranked third in one of the most undesirable categories. Just under Xavier University of Louisiana and Simmons University, Seton Hall was listed as the third university with the Least Happy Students.
In an interview with The Setonian, Ingrid Quintanilla, a junior biology major, listed a few contributing factors she believed influences this ranking. Quintanilla first noted the difficulty and pressure of the Seton Hall curriculum within every major.
She also mentioned the significance of the university’s size stating, “people go into the university expecting the stereotypical college experience and in such a small school it just doesn’t meet expectations,” Quintanilla said.
According to the Princeton Review’s College Ranking methodology, the ranking was based on a survey of 140,000 students and depended on how strongly students disagreed with the statement “I am happy at my school”.
The “Least Happy Students” category is one of 62 total categories in this edition.
Each ranking list reports the top 20 colleges, of the 385, in a specific ranking list category. A college’s appearance on any ranking list in the Princeton Review is the result of what its own students surveyed about their college experiences as well as how they rated various aspects of their college life. The survey had 80 questions in four sections asking about their academics/administration, life at their college, their fellow students, and themselves.
The survey demonstrated the importance of community in a university as it emphasized questions about the campus environment. One key component of any community is its diversity, or potential lack thereof.
“As a minority group, as a Hispanic student, I feel like the diversity in such a small school just isn’t there as it would be in a larger school,” Quintanilla said.
Quintanilla went on to say that the continual increase in tuition is another stressful contributing factor evident in the Seton Hall community. She has personally known students from all years who have dropped out because of the financial burden.
When learning about the recent campus ranking, Selam Woldegerima, a junior majoring in physics, was not surprised. Not only did she discuss the cost of tuition which increases 3% each year, also she pointed out the effects that the cost issue imposes on the university’s diversity.
“The skyrocketing expenses leads to less diversity as only the relatively wealthy could afford it. The lack of financial aid and diversity on campus, I believe, are enough reasons to make students unhappy with their college experience,” Woldegerima said.
Ruby Pasupuleti, a junior majoring in biology provided some other aspects of campus life that may impact student happiness such as the quality of food and failure to properly address certain social groups.
Each interviewee believed that student happiness could substantially improve if the university focused on combating the problems students face, which can be done by promoting increased diversity, lowering exponential tuition costs, and working against the incredible academic and social pressure weighing on students.
“I do think students’ happiness could improve if Seton Hall focuses on attributing resources to tackle the issues that are causing dissatisfaction in students,” Woldegerima said. “Collaborating with SGA and working closely with students could definitely help.”