NC State Ranked High for Best Value, Least Beautiful Campus

The Best and Worst

July, 28, 2009, by Jedidiah

NC State Ranked High for Best Value, Least Beautiful Campus
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The Princeton Review has released its annual “Best of…” Colleges list. This year, North Carolina State University ranked as one of the top 10 best values for public schools in America while also ranking in the top 10 for Least Beautiful Campus and Class Discussions Rare. I’m thinking that the plethora of bland brick buildings on the constantly sprawling Centennial Campus doesn’t help.

Below is the list of NC State’s rankings and see the full lists here.

NC State Rankings:

#10 Least Beautiful Campus (Based on students’ rating of campus beauty)

#7 Class Discussions Rare
(How much of your overall class time is devoted to discussion as opposed to lectures?)

Top 10 Best Value of Public School (This school is one of the colleges designated as one of the best overall bargains-based on cost and financial aid-among the most academically outstanding colleges in the nation.)



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Politics, Other posts by Jedidiah.

  • Andrew B
    07/28 06:49 AM

    Ah, dear alma mater- one of the most beautiful campuses ever designed to look like an office park.

  • Kevin
    07/28 07:36 AM

    Are class discussions so great?  As an engineering graduate, I don’t think they’d have much value.  We had separate scheduled study hall and labs to “discuss”.

  • CarnifeX
    07/28 08:39 AM

    Once Centennial gets built out to near master plan, I think the interpretation of campus beauty will change.

    Especially with the addition of a “dust buster” to anchor the main oval on the new campus.

  • Mark
    07/28 09:13 AM

    NC State’s campus has improved by a huge amount over the last few years, as far as looks go.

    I think at this point it gets voted as an ugly campus for legacy reasons.  Since it was voted an ugly campus last year, it gets voted an ugly campus this year.

  • Matt W
    07/28 09:41 AM

    Sorry Mark, I have to disagree—it’s still ugly.  I have high hopes for Centennial though.

  • HRH
    07/28 09:47 AM

    It is way better looking now than it was in the past. Some areas are lovely like the Court of Carolinas and Centennial Campus.

  • 150
    07/28 10:24 AM

    I was just discussing prettiest/ugliest college campuses with friends this past weekend.  Unfortunately, NC State was in the ugliest category for everyone.  It just looks industrial.

  • T-Plain
    07/28 11:32 AM

    The Hunt library will look cool, assuming it doesn’t get “budget-cutted” into some kind of brick-and-glass box.

  • bbadwolf
    07/28 01:08 PM

    Consider this. We continue to add more and more tech into the classrooms that focus on the lecture rather than interpersonal communication. Clickers, laptops and classroom capture. You would be amazed at how many students are hanging out on social networks and chatting away on their laptops and mobile phones in class. We have allowed the distractors in and excluding them is fought tooth and nail.

    An ugly campus. Yes it is. It is a monument to a committee. Quaint ivy covered building have long given way the post modern minimalist designs that are nothing more than boxes with windows, Blame the architects, the schools that produce them, and the committees that approve the designs. Centennial Campus looks like any other office park in the triangle. One thing though if you travel to most of the other campuses in the area with new buildings you will see the same ugly and bland designs too.

  • phil
    07/28 02:45 PM

    OK, NCSU’s campus and the surrounding area is not the best looking.  BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, take a ride around Duke…and don’t drive slow AND keep the windows up.  That is crackville.

    BTW, I went to Wake Forest which isn’t much better…

  • Eric
    07/28 03:27 PM

    I think the revamping of Hillsbrough Street could really help the campus out.  Also Mission Valley is an eyesore as it “connects” the main campus and Centennial campus.

    And for the comment about Duke… granted Durham is ugly but my goodness Dukes campus is probably one of the most beautiful campuses.  If you actually really drive through the campus you should be impressed.  The Duke chapel, the Gothic architecture, and the overall cleanliness of that campus is quite impressive.

  • Morty
    07/28 06:36 PM

    Dear Dukies,

    This article is not about your campus.

  • John
    07/28 10:36 PM

    Kudos to NC State for its top ten designation!

    Given that the status of State’s campus beauty is self reported, one shouldn’t be surprised by that ranking.  While I have been to far uglier campuses in far uglier settings, I think that NC State’s students’ negative impressions are heightened by its juxtaposition to UNC and Duke.  Like others, I look forward to the completion of the Hillsborough St. renovations.  I hope it makes State students more proud of their university.

    As for “class discussions” being rare, I can see how that’s true for the engineering mind. But, I can at least tell you that wasn’t my experience at the School (now College) of Design.

  • arthurb3
    07/29 07:26 AM

    Its difficult to get around NCSU. Even if you take the bus and park in one of the far out lots it can still take you an hour to get where you are going. If you have to work a living and trying to attend classes there its very difficult to get to class

  • gd
    07/29 09:20 AM

    I am a graduate of NCSU and I didn’t find it difficult to get around at all - not when I lived on or off campus. 

    As far as its ugliness - Unlike Chapel Hill, theres things going on in Raleigh outside of the University.  UNC is Chapel Hill pretty much.  It makes sense that UNC has a better looking campus.

    I dont mind NCSU’s campus.  I dont think its the best looking, but its functional and I’m glad I went to school there.

  • Joshua
    07/29 05:44 PM

    Go State. I recently was on campus with a coworker who graduated from UNC CH. you know, the ‘beautiful’ school. and he commented that NC State was actually a very nice campus, much to his surprise.

  • John
    07/29 09:19 PM

    I like the urban, walkable feel of the campus on the North side of the train tracks.  I have always appreciated the compact nature of that area that makes getting from class to class quite easy.

  • Jamie B.
    07/30 02:11 PM

    Not to sound too snotty, but every time I collect my paycheck I certainly don’t look back on the time I spent gazing at some piece of outdoor modern art or a discussion I had on Aristotle with a prof.  NC State pumps a TON of talent out into the Triangle area, and I don’t think anyone is all that concerned about the aesthetics of the campus.  That being said, I do see the irony of me posting on the Net to come to NC State’s ‘pretty campus’ defense…... :-)

  • jdawg
    07/31 11:01 AM

    Sure Duke is pretty, and it cost $38K a semester when I toured it with my niece years ago.  My mom was a teacher, and my dad a a carpenter so I went to State.  I had fun, got around campus easy, participated in many stimulating discussions, learned a whole bunch, and grew immensely.  I have been gainfully employed in my field of study for 22 years since, as have half my friends here in Raleigh whoi went to State with me.  We all stayed.  NC State is more than a school or an architectural manifestation, its one of the primary engines of our Fine City, and its a damn god one.  Go Wolfpack!

  • jp
    08/03 06:32 AM

    State’s campus is ugly.  Who cares?  You can still like it even if it’s not a tourist destination.  Campus aesthetics don’t have much influence on the quality of the institution.

  • Shibby
    08/03 07:49 PM

    Value for the Win.
    #bricks = FAIL.
    ...Which if we save money on buildings by using bricks and local material, then we provide a more valuable education. HHmmmmmm…It’s a brick…house!

    Plus, now we have Road Cone art.

  • djzuul
    08/24 07:01 PM

    So, I totally didn’t pick my college by how it looks.  And, just because it isn’t new, doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve a very good purpose. Besides, I do NOT want my educational institution to look like a resort, a garden, or an English estate.

  • guest
    08/24 07:57 PM

    Why would specifically not want it to look like a resort, a garden or an English estate? So if you favorite school looked like these things would that be a minus?

  • guest
    02/24 03:09 PM

    Can you please repeat the question using complete sentences?

  • name
    08/25 10:27 PM

    thanx karen,

  • gh
    12/22 10:33 PM

    NCSU = worst campus in America, terrible school. If you’re any good at engineering, go to Georgia Tech or a school that’s worth a darn

  • It Could Be Worse
    01/11 11:30 PM

    So where are NC Central, ECU, Guilford, Fayetteville State, Pembroke, Winston Salem State, Shaw, NC A&T, Wingate ranked on this list? 
    ECU looks like a strip-mall, meanwhile buildings at NC Central are constantly having to be re-built due to their students routinely burning them down.

  • Raleigh Boy
    01/12 12:36 AM

    Sadly, an icon of modernist architecture on the NC State campus may soon be lost.

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