Students Pick 2010's Top Colleges

08/24/2010 07:34 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Over the past few years, I've spoken with tens of thousands of high school students who were hoping to find, and get into, the best college possible.

However, all too often, students (and their parents) have a distorted view of what the "best" college is. They listen to the marketing hype, they pay too much attention to things that aren't truly important and commit themselves to spending four years at schools that aren't right for them. When making a decision as important as where to go to college, students need to figure out which schools fit. They need to discern the stories behind the hype, to get answers to probing questions about a school's professors, its campus, its atmosphere and its social life, to find the places they'll enjoy living at and learning the most.

Families aren't going to get answers to these questions from admissions pamphlets, where schools pretend to be all things to all people. They won't get answers from flat numbers and statistics that don't provide meaningful insights, and they won't get them from college guidebooks written by journalists and administrators who imagine, but don't know, what it's like on the ground. They will get answers by listening to current college students -- the only ones who really know what it's like to live and learn at these schools for four years at a time. Their stories are the ones that count. is one of the world's largest resources for college reviews created by the students themselves. We crafted our college rankings with this spirit in mind. Over the past 12 months, we asked more than 30,000 students across America to weigh in and tell us their stories. What is it actually like on your campus? Which schools have the most intellectual student bodies? Where do students feel safe? What do prospective students need to know? Tens of thousands of current students voted, and we created the 10 for '10 based on the results.

Over the next 10 days, we'll be rolling out the following lists one per day: No Last Call, the top 10 schools where "Animal House" is considered tame; The New Ivies, the top 10 schools that are the next generation of excellence; Never Lock Your Doors, the top 10 colleges that are so safe, jaywalkers are the biggest felons; Best Kept Secrets, the top 10 schools that fly under the academic radar -- but shouldn't; Walk of Shame Hall of Fame, the top 10 schools where everybody gets "lucky"; Nietzschean Supermen (and Superwomen), the top 10 schools where the pursuit of knowledge goes far beyond the classroom; All Business All the Time, the top 10 schools where students are already looking beyond their undergraduate years; Location, Location, Location, the top 10 schools whose locales are the envy of family and friends; Life is But a Game, the top 10 schools where sports rule; and Politicians & Pundits, the top 10 schools where students follow the beltway as closely as their studies.

After we received the votes to compile these lists, we went back to the students at each ranked school. That's when students sent in even more information -- photos, videos and supporting quotes, offering on-the-ground insights into why their schools made the 10 for '10. At every college you'll hear what the students had to say, creating nuanced, personal and honest portraits of their schools. They give you the stories behind the statistics. They also give you funny and irreverent lists that are fun to read -- the next best thing to spending time on campus.

When college students graduate, they'll be courted by America's top companies for their ability to speak for themselves. Until now, at the ages eighteen, nineteen, twenty and twenty one, these students have always been spoken for. With these lists, the brightest young minds in America have come together and taken their voices back. They're telling you what it's really like at these campuses, so you can wind up at the college that's right for you. They have extremely valuable things to say -- I think you'll enjoy listening.

See the first list: The New Ivies

About Unigo: features tens of thousands of interactive college reviews created by current college students. Unigo's reviews were described by the New York Times as " evocative they make the one-page U.S. News summaries read like junk mail... they are vivid in a way no guidebook can match," and The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg called Unigo "... a college information resource built for the age of YouTube and Facebook."