Online ranking of colleges is based on educational excellence, green programs and student reviews.

UCI is one of the best colleges in the West, according to The Princeton Review, a nationally known education services company. It’s among 121 institutions recommended in the “Best in the West” section of “2012 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” posted online Aug. 1. The Princeton Review calls UCI “a serious public school in sunny Orange County and a good fit for studious undergrads looking to benefit from the University of California’s famous faculty and ample research opportunities.” It adds: “Because the campus attracts the best and the brightest, students at UC Irvine can say hello to a Nobel laureate on the way to class and then see an Olympic gold medalist practicing with the women’s volleyball team in the same afternoon.”