Northwestern ranked among most stressful schools in nation

Cat Zakrzewski, Assistant Campus Editor

The Daily Beast has ranked Northwestern fifth on its 2012 list of the most stressful schools.

NU’s ranking comes into question as the debate about the state of mental health resources on campus grows, following the suicide of Weinberg junior Alyssa Weaver last week while she was studying abroad in England.

At an NU Active Minds and Undergraduate Psychology Association panel discussion about mental health, Alison May, assistant director of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, said she thought the high stress level on campus resulted from students taking four courses a quarter. She took only three courses a quarter as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College and said she experienced an increased level of stress when she began taking four courses at NU.

“It makes Northwestern a pressure cooker,” she said.

The online publication wrote that the rankings were compiled by evaluating “the total price of attendance, the percentage of students receiving financial aid, as well as the average amount of financial aid, the selectivity based on the average SAT or ACT score and the percent of applicants admitted.” The publication weighted each of these five factors at 20 percent and additionally factored in the U.S. Department of Education’s crime record for the past three years as a bonus percentage.

Washington University in Saint Louis, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and Harvard University placed in the top four ahead of Northwestern.

— Cat Zakrzewski