Princeton Review names Elon the nation’s ‘best-run college’ with #1-ranked study abroad program

The 2021 edition of "The Best 386 Colleges" guide also recognized Elon's career services, campus, performing arts productions and residential facilities.

Elon University has been named the best-run college with the best study abroad program in the country by the Princeton Review college guide, with the university also recognized for excellence in academic and student life programs. The 2021 edition of “The Best 386 Colleges,” released Aug. 18, ranks the top 13 percent of the country’s 3,000 four-year colleges and universities.

​The Princeton Review publishes 62 ranking lists based on a nationwide survey of 143,000 students as well as information gathered from college administrators. Elon’s profile includes several recognitions, including the following:

#1 — Best-Run Colleges

#1 — Most Popular Study Abroad Program

#4 — Best Career Services

#4 — Most Beautiful Campus

#6 — Best College Theater

#12 — Best College Dorms

#14 — Best College Newspaper

#17 — Happiest Students

#19 — Their Students Love These Colleges

#20 — Students Most Engaged in Community Service


“We are delighted that Elon University is one of the outstanding institutions we profile in the new edition,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief and lead author of The Best 386 Colleges.

Elon is recognized for a “visually stunning” campus and a “focus for learning [that] is very hands on.” In their comments, students highlighted Elon’s engaged and experiential learning opportunities as well as the wide range of study abroad opportunities the university provides. The guide notes that classes at Elon are intentionally small, which students said “allows for connections and questions between faculty and students.”

One student shared that “many of my classes introduced real-life clients that we worked with” like the NAACP, Habitat for Humanity International and numerous local businesses.” The Princeton Review notes that “this reach beyond the classroom is perfect for Elon students,” as many are intent on becoming global citizens. “Options to ‘study abroad for a semester, summer, or winter term are all very popular,’ and those who remain local will find a curriculum that encourages experiential learning through ‘internships, research, service, and leadership,’” the Princeton Review noted.

Elon students told the Princeton Review that their professors are “extremely student focused” and “engaged, caring and smart,” which creates an environment where “every student is a person, not just a number.” Students say that their classmates “are very motivated and want a bright future.”

The guide highlighted the “amazing resources” students say Elon has on its campus, including the Student Professional Development Center and the Maker Hub. Students said Elon is “a campus that inspires and collaborates,” with one student commenting that “everyone at Elon misses it when we go back home.”

This is the 16th year in a row that Elon has appeared in the Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” guide. The Best 386 Colleges is the 29th annual edition of The Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” book and one of 150 Princeton Review books in a line published by Penguin Random House. It has been featured on NBC “TODAY” more than a dozen times, and referenced by reporters in publications from Inside Higher Education to The Wall Street Journal.