The Most Prestigious Christian Colleges

Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University

I’ve been very pleased with the reception of the Faith on View Christian College Rankings. Several colleges have shared the findings and there have been almost 40,000 views on this site related to the rankings. I know for some sites that is peanuts but for this site that is some pretty good traffic.

There are four categories that go into the overall ranking score for “most prestigious Christian colleges” : Reputation; Student Success and Satisfaction; Faculty Resources; and Student Selectivity. I’ve planned for a while to post the leaders in each category but it fell into the cracks. I recently received an e-mail saying it would be great to sort the rankings by the separate categories. That is a bit of an arduous project and I am not sure how helpful it would be especially at the lower end of the rankings. But, I do think it would be helpful to list the top performers in each category. So, over the next few days I will be posting the top twenty in each category after which I will add those lists to the rankings page.

So here are the twenty top scoring schools when it comes to their reputation score:

Top 20 Christian Colleges by Reputation
Rank      Score      College                                                   Location                         Undergrad Enrollment (Total)
1. 100 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA 3474 (7539)
2. 96 Wheaton College Wheaton, IL 2433 (3069)
3. 90 Baylor University Waco, TX 12,575 (15,029)
3. 90 Calvin College  Grand Rapids, MI 3873 (3976)
3. 90 Thomas Aquinas College Santa Paula, CA 358
6. 89 Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA 1337 (1341)
7. 86 Berea College Berea, KY 1661
7. 86 Erskine College Due West, SC 560 (773)
9. 84 Providence College Providence, RI 4174 (4769)
10. 82 The Master’s College & Seminary Santa Clarita, CA 1177 (1596)
11. 81 University of Dallas Irving, TX 1356 (2725)
12. 80. College of the Ozarks Point Lookout, MO 1377
13. 79 Hope College Holland, MI 3249
13. 79 Samford University Birmingham, AL 2950 (4758)
15. 77 Gordon College Wenham, MA 1573 (1898)
15. 77 Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA 3194 (4167)
15. 77 Taylor University Upland, IN 2286 (2422)
18. 76 Biola University La Mirada, CA 4272 (6251)
18. 76 Whitworth University Spokane, WA 2248 (2506)
20. 75 Ouachita Baptist University Arkadelphia, AR 1594


Complete Rankings



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  • Stan Lott says:

    I have a 36 year career in Baptist higher education and am familiar with most of these schools. I am curious about why Mercer University in Macon, GA did not make the list. In terms of Baptist schools, I would rank it second to Baylor.

    • Fair question. Mercer does well in the overall rankings but not as well in the Reputation Rankings. This year the reputation scores were based purely on the U.S. News and Forbes rankings. Next year, the methodology will be expanded to include a peer assessment score as well.

  • Can’t say I’m a fan of Pepperdine — it’s where Ken Starr landed as dean of their law school after he served as the prosecutor going after Bill Clinton, and it’s list of donors is a veritable Who’s Who of GOP politics, dating all the way back to pre-Reagan.

    When you turn over the rock and find the GOP slithering all over the place, I have doubts as to how “Christian” something really is.

    • We would do well to be suspicious of any political party ‘slithering all over’ any educational institution, Christian or otherwise. Partisan politics may be an appropriate topic of study in History or Poli Sci, but it should be influencing the mission, vision, and goals of higher ed.

      • Oops! “… should NOT be influencing.”

  • Michael LoVette says:

    Where does Liberty University, in Virginia, rank and can you tell me why?
    Thank you,

    • The prestige rankings were only figured for the top 20. So, I am not certain of where Liberty fell in that category. I can say that the top 20 all had prestige scores above 75 and Liberty’s prestige score was only 36. So, they were well out of those rankings. I should also note that prestige is only one of four rankings that go into the comprehesnive score. Overall, Liberty ranked 105 out of 191. You can find the methodology for the study here.

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