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Queens College, SJU diversity among highest in the country

Queens College distinguished itself in two categories that despite funny names like "Scotch and soda, hold the Scotch" mean its students are not a big party bunch, in the 2009 Princeton Review guide The Best 368 Colleges, which was published this week.

The guide ranked the CUNY school fifth nationwide in that category — which indicates low consumption of hard liquor — and on the "Got milk?" list, which indicates a student body that eschews beer, said Robert Franek, a Princeton Review writer.

The guides weigh the frank opinions of some 120,000 students across the country as they describe their schools' financial aid, quality of life, accessibility of professors and other factors that contribute to the overall college experience, Franek said.

And just to reinforce Queens College's teetotaling reputation, students ranked the school 14th on the "Stone cold sober" list and 17th on the "Don't inhale" list of 20 schools, thanks to the low use of marijuana, Franek said.

Queens College officials were not surprised by the rankings, which they noted were compiled by students.

"Queens College students are known for being serious, hardworking and sober. We've been getting these 'stone cold sober' reviews for years," Queens College spokeswoman Phyllis Cohen Stevens said. "It just goes to show you we're not a party school. Our students just don't have time for that."

The lists are a longtime feature of the annual Princeton Review guides, but they only mention the top 20 schools in each category.

One thing Queens College has in common with fellow borough school St. John's University is they both made the top 20 for their diverse student populations — a list on which CUNY schools in general scored high, with Baruch College in first place, Brooklyn College in third and Hunter College in seventh place. Queens College came in ninth, and St. John's 17th.

St. John's also scored eighth on the "Least accessible professors" list, Franek said.

"We want to hear from students if there are problems, and we will make it a priority to address it and try to improve," said St. John's spokesman Dominic Scianna, adding that the school was proud to have made the list for its diverse student body.

But the lists do not tell the whole story, Franek said.

"The students were very quick to talk about the quality of life on campus, the options for near-campus housing. The students said they feel a direct connection with their professors," he said.

"They were very quick to point out that St. John's has overcome any commuter specter it had in the past," Franek said. "They also feel a connection to the school, and they say their connection with each other goes beyond school and the classroom."

Franek is to be speaking at an event Saturday at St. John's Bent Hall, starting at 1 p.m.

Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodoulides@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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