February 23, 2013

Top Christian Colleges

Rondall Reynoso
Erskine College

I discovered that there were previously no rankings of Christian Colleges in the United States. As someone who is very interested  in Christian Higher Education, I saw this as a real gap. As a result, I have spent the last couple of months gathering and analyzing statistics to come out with the only comprehensive rankings of Christian Colleges in existence.

 

Rank      Score      College                                                   Location                         Undergrad Enrollment (Total)
1. 95 Thomas Aquinas College Santa Paula, CA 358
2. 88 Wheaton College Wheaton, IL 2433 (3069)
3. 84 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA 3474 (7539)
4. 80 Providence College Providence, RI 4174 (4769)
4. 80 Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA 1337 (1341)
6. 79 Baylor University Waco, TX 12,575 (15,029)
6. 79 Calvin College  Grand Rapids, MI 3873 (3976)
8. 78 Berea College Berea, KY 1661
9. 76 Hope College Holland, MI 3249
10. 74 Samford University Birmingham, AL 2950 (4758)
10. 74 Union University Jackson, TN 2875 (4007)

Complete Rankings

Rondall Reynoso


Rondall is an artist, scholar, and speaker. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. He holds an MFA in Painting and an MS in Art History from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and is completing a Ph.D. in Art History and Aesthetics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

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  • Richard A says:

    Interesting. Thanks for putting time into this. Having worked with colleges for over two decades, I recognize the basics in your list. I’d generally agree with the shape of the list.

    Here’s my thoughts:

    1) What do you consider a “Christian College?”
    The list includes Catholic University, but not Notre Dame. Also missing are Hillsdale and Grove City —- both arguably more Christian than some institutions on the list.

    2) Clusters are better than specific ranks. Back in the 90s, colleges and universities would invest millions to move up even a single position on the USNWR ranks. Why? they thought it was worth it (it likely was). Here’s the thing – a deceptively simple ordinal rank doesn’t really help a student pick a college that’s good for him/her. College “fit” is really a multi-dimensional phenomena.

    3) You need not attend a Christian institution to live a Christ-like life.

    Some of my best references (having placed Missionary kids into college for 2 decades) have been to secular private institutions that have active chapters of CC or IVCF. The benefit from these organizations can often surpass the minimum benefit that comes from attending a Christian institution.

    • Thank you for your feedback. Here are my thoughts on the issues you have raised.

      1) This is a difficult issue. Grove City was a clear over site that will be added into future rankings. Hillsdale is politically conservative but not a “Christian” institution. The hard part are schools that are Religious but not as intentional about their institutional commitment. Many schools are essential secular schools that have theology requirements or a church affiliation. In the end muddle through the challenge of making the judgement call. If there are schools that people feel I made the wrong call about please feel free to send me a message via the methodology page and I will reexamine the decision. It is fully possible I have made a mistake.

      2) This is a serious debate. There is no doubt that rankings can be misleading. In the Faith on View rankings #13 and #20 are separated by a score of only two. That is a small margin. I hope that students will use the rankings just as one tool in evaluating colleges. On the other hand the recent NRC PhD rankings chose to go with the cluster approach and as a student looking at programs I found it less helpful. So, it is a matter of preference. But as you point out fit is very important and how a school ranks is just one part of it.

      3) This is completely true! All of my undergraduate education was secular as were my first two graduate degrees. Even my current program would be dismissed by many as liberal. But, for me it was the right fit even though I am relatively conservative theologically. My alma matter didn’t even have a strong Christian organization on campus but I found a good church. But, I also think a good Christian education can have tremendous benefits and the surging enrollment at Christian institutions students and parents are interested in this sort of education.

      i will say that there is a type of pervasively Christian education which cannot be duplicated at a secular institution. I don’t think that most Christian institutions rise to that level but I believe it to be something truly profound when it happens.

      Thank you again for your thoughts!

  • Berea isn’t a Christian College. It started out that way a long time ago, but it is not a Christian college now. It is a private liberal arts college.

  • Rebecca Blank says:

    Thank you for creating this list. It has been helpful to consider Christian schools that were unfamiliar to me, as I look for a Christian College for my daughter. I am glad to see the comments about Grove City College and Hillsdale College, as I have two sons that have attended these colleges. You are correct to not include Hillsdale, because it is not a Christian college, although its foundation draws upon the Judeo-Christian faith. I am pleases you plan to include Grove City College in the future.

    • Thank you Rebecca. I am glad that the ranking has been helpful to you. That is exactly why I undertook this project so i am glad that you benefited from it.

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