The Princeton Review Has Released Its Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition

College of the Atlantic Is #1 on Top 50 Green Colleges List

NEW YORK, October 20, 2020 / — The Princeton Review® today released its 11th annual Guide to Green Colleges, a free resource that the education service company has published since 2010 for college applicants seeking schools with exemplary commitments to the environment and sustainability.

Accessible for free at, The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges, 2021 Edition profiles 416 colleges the company chose out of the 695 schools it surveyed for this edition.

Earning the #1 spot on the guide's Top 50 Green Colleges ranking list—and for the fifth consecutive year—is the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME. Established in 1969, College of the Atlantic was the first college in the U.S. specifically founded to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment. In 2007, the school became the first carbon-neutral college in the U.S. It has since committed to becoming fossil fuel–free by 2030.

"We are especially pleased to recommend these colleges during Campus Sustainability Month, the international celebration of sustainability in higher education," said Rob Franek, Editor in Chief of The Princeton Review. "With robust offerings in environmental studies and initiatives that range from solar-powered residence halls to tray-less dining halls, these schools demonstrate their commitment to sustainability in a range of innovative ways. We recommend them highly to all students seeking to learn and live at a green college."

Franek noted that The Princeton Review has seen a high level of interest among college applicants and their parents in colleges with green practices, programs, and offerings. Sixty-six percent of the 12,845 respondents (college-bound teens and parents) to The Princeton Review's 2020 College Hopes & Worries Survey said that having information about a college's commitment to the environment would affect their (or their child's) decision to apply to or attend a school. A report on the survey findings is downloadable here.

The top 15 schools on The Princeton Review's ranking list of Top 50 Green Colleges for 2021 are:

  1. College of the Atlantic (ME)
  2. Oberlin College (OH)
  3. Middlebury College (VT)
  4. State University of New York—College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  5. Pitzer College (CA)
  6. Dickinson College (PA)
  7. Chatham University (PA)
  8. Cornell University (NY)
  9. Whitman College (WA)
  10. Colorado State University
  11. University of California—Santa Cruz
  12. Stanford University (CA)
  13. University of California—Santa Barbara
  14. Colby College (ME)
  15. Portland State University (OR)

The list of top 50 colleges is viewable here. As a group, the top 50 schools have compelling statistics with respect to the levels of their commitment to sustainability. Overall:

  • 21% of their total food purchases are from local sources and/or organic
  • 49% of their waste is diverted from incinerators or solid-waste landfills
  • 98% offer a sustainability-focused undergraduate major or degree
  • 100% have a sustainability officer

The school profiles in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges present information on each school's use of renewable energy, its recycling and conservation programs, the availability of environmental studies in academic offerings, and career guidance for green jobs. The profiles also include information on the schools' admission requirements, cost, and financial aid.

How Schools Were Chosen for the Guide

The Princeton Review chose the 416 colleges based on its survey of administrators at 695 colleges in 2019–20 concerning their institutions' sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. Survey topics ranged from academic offerings and campus initiatives to career preparation for "green" jobs.  

More than 25 survey data points were analyzed by The Princeton Review editors to tally Green Rating scores for the schools on a scale of 60 to 99. Colleges that earned a Green Rating of 80 or higher made it into the guide. Of the 416 schools in the 2021 edition, 393 are in the U.S., 22 are in Canada, and one is in Greece. The 416 schools are listed alphabetically in the guide and not ranked overall from 1 to 416. Colleges that earned a Green Rating of 99 made it onto The Princeton Review's earlier (August 2020) reported Green Honor Roll, as well as this guide. The Green Rating scores appear in the profiles of the schools in the guide on The Princeton Review website and in profiles of the schools in the 2021 editions of the Princeton Review books, The Best 386 Colleges (published August 2020) and The Complete Book of Colleges (published July 2020).

How the Guide's Top 50 Green Colleges Ranking List Was Tallied

The Princeton Review tallied the top 50 ranking list based on data from its surveys of administrators at the colleges for its Green Rating scores as well as its surveys of students attending the colleges. Ten data points from the administrator survey were factored into the tally for the ranking list and three from the student survey. Data from the student survey included student assessments of the influence of sustainability issues on their academic and campus experiences; administrator and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups on the campus.

Note: The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges released last year, on October 22, 2019, was the 2019 edition. This guide is presented as the 2021 edition to align the project with publishing protocols by which guides released after June in a calendar year are identified as editions for the upcoming year.

About The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep, and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school–bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in-person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. The company’s brand is one of the largest online tutoring services in the U.S. It comprises a community of thousands of tutors who have delivered more than 19 million one-to-one tutoring sessions. The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University. For more information, visit and the company's Media Center. Follow the company on Twitter (@ThePrincetonRev) and Instagram (@theprincetonreview).

- # # # -

      Note to Editors

      The Princeton Review's Rob Franek, Editor-in-Chief, and David Soto, Director of Content Development, are available for interviews about this project. Contact Jeanne Krier, Director of Publicity for The Princeton Review, at 212-539-1350 or

      Members of the media can use this courtesy login to access all information on The Princeton Review website without registering: login with email as and password media. Lists of the 416 colleges in the guide are accessible on The Princeton Review website: