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Newsmax's Top 100 Evangelical Christian Colleges

Newsmax's Top 100 Evangelical Christian Colleges
Liberty University's Student Leadership is photographed in front of DeMoss Hall on August 18, 2015. (Facebook/Liberty University/James Hancock)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 October 2015 11:30 AM EDT

Selecting a college is hard enough. But choosing a school that agrees with one's religious convictions can indeed be a test of faith.

Prospective students face a mind-numbing array of Christian colleges to choose from. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are nearly 600 Christian-affiliated institutions of higher learning in the United States. These include nearly 300 Catholic colleges, more than 100 Baptist and Methodist institutions, and nearly 100 Presbyterian-affiliated universities.

Figuring out which one is best for you can be quite a pilgrimage.

After carefully weighing several factors, including the average financial needs met, class sizes, student-to-faculty ratio, average ACT scores, and student retention rates, Newsmax has selected the top 100 evangelical Christian colleges in the country.

These are extraordinary institutions: Many have small student-to-faculty ratios and an average class size of well under 20 students. They meet all their students’ financial needs 79 percent of the time, according to records.

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Perhaps most importantly, their students finish what they started: Freshman scholars continue on to year two more than 80 percent of the time, College Data reported.

The roster of religious-affiliated institutions is so long that we had to narrow it down. Catholic institutions are not included here; they are on a separate list, one devoted specifically to schools affiliated with the Catholic faith.

Hillsdale College, an institution revered by many conservatives, also is not on this list. Although Hillsdale was founded in 1844 by Freewill Baptists, it has been officially nondenominational since its inception.

Similarly, Brigham Young University, an institution owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is perennially included in rankings of top American universities, is not included either. BYU is an excellent school. But as a non-Protestant institution, it did not fall within the purview of this particular list.

Mindful of those caveats, and with no further ado, Newsmax presents an honor roll of evangelical colleges that are definitely worth matriculating over. These are the top 100 evangelical Christian colleges in America:

1. Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia — Liberty University, the pride and joy of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, is one of the fastest-rising universities in American education. Featured on the cover of the April 2014 edition of Newsmax magazine, Liberty enjoys a massive online enrollment of nearly 100,000 students, who augment the 15,000 residential students at a rapidly expanding campus just two hours’ drive west of Richmond. Firebrand Texas Sen. Ted Cruz chose Liberty’s weekly Convocation to launch his presidential campaign. And just to prove that faith transcends political fault lines, liberal Democratic standard-bearer Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke there as well.

University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has made no secret he aims to fulfill his father’s ambition to establish a university that will serve for Protestants the role that the University of Notre Dame fulfills for Catholics.

With an abundance of recreational facilities and clubs, including a snowflex ski slope and ice center, Liberty’s students are sure to stay busy. ROTC is offered for those interested in the Air Force and Army as well. Mission trips and weekly campus church services provide opportunities for students to grow in their faith.

“When most kids think of a Christian school, they think small, boring, and strict. Liberty is the complete opposite,” sophomore Courtney Hunter told Newsmax. “Overall, the ‘Liberty Way’ is reasonable and should be easy to follow if students can simply obey. The campus itself has so much to offer. There are countless activities to participate in. It's impossible to be bored!”

2. Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia — More than 14,000 students attend classes at Emory, ranked 21st in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 list of the best universities in America. One of the South’s premier universities, Emory has a competitive academic community that also balances social life. It has the 16th largest endowment among U.S. colleges and universities, and offers plenty of research opportunities that are central to its goals and mission. This liberal arts university was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church.

3. St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota — St. Olaf College is a leading liberal arts institution in the United States that combines general education, major courses, and elective courses with knowledge and depth. With 3,034 undergraduates in a village environment, the school is grounded in Lutheran faith and has close to 30 sports teams, The Princeton Review reported. Although there is no Greek life on campus, more than 250 registered student organizations exist. Additionally, on average, 99 percent of financial need is met, and the school has a retention rate of 93 percent, according to College Data. The school also has a PRIDE statement and honor pledge system, which promotes respect and academic honesty.

“Every quiz, exam, paper, etc., is taken or written without the professor in the classroom,” St. Olaf junior Hannah Ferree told Newsmax. “Every student is responsible for their own integrity and that of their classmates. At the completion of an assessment, each student signs the honor pledge unless they themselves or they witnessed another student break the pledge. In that case, the students go in front of the Honor Council. It puts students in control of their own integrity.”

4. Biola University, La Mirada, California — Biola offers education with a purpose by helping its students to pursue their goals and aspirations, The Princeton Review reported. A variety of people attend the university, with their faith in God uniting them. The institution provides resources published in academic journals, encourages students to partake in internships throughout the Los Angeles area, and promotes travel for students to explore through its study abroad programs. While no drinking or dancing is allowed on campus, there are plenty of school activities to make up for it with everything from a game of college-wide dodgeball to dorm all-hall get-togethers. Biola’s 161st spot in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings makes it the top-ranked member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.

5. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois — This religious liberal arts school, which counts none other than the Rev. Billy Graham among its distinguished alumni, is located directly west of Chicago and has just under 2,500 undergraduate students, according to The Princeton Review. Many of its students were homeschooled. Wesleyans originally founded the school, and the college has preserved its faith connection for over 150 years. Its proximity to the Windy City affords students plenty of opportunities to get off campus. There also are many on-campus activities and organizations ranging from the Justice Coalition to an American Sign Language club.

6. Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota — Just over 2,000 undergraduate students attend this Presbyterian-affiliated, nonsectarian school. The liberal arts institution is located in a large, urban environment, and provides a diverse community, with 82 percent of its students coming from outside the state and 16 percent studying internationally.

7. Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia — Just as Liberty University is the brainchild of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, Regent University, located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, is the offspring of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) founder Pat Robertson. In 1977, Robertson founded what was then known as Christian Broadcasting Network University. Its name was changed to Regent University in 1990. A private school of about 6,200 students, it is rated No. 23 on Christian Universities Online’s list of Most Affordable Christian Colleges. Located on a bucolic campus in Virginia Beach, Regent offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. According to U.S. News & World Report, its student-teacher ratio stands at 18 to 1.

8. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas — Located near the heart of Dallas, this urban university boasts about 6,400 undergraduates, according to The Princeton Review. The institution emphasizes internships and work experience while also promoting the United Methodist faith upon which it was founded. SMU, ranked 61st by U.S. News & World Report, is also home to the George W. Bush Library and Museum, as well as the Presidential Center, which provides opportunities for research and fellowship programs. With more than 100 majors and 75 minors, the school offers students the chance to pursue subjects they love, including video-game development with the school’s Guildhall.

9. Baylor University, Waco, Texas — With more than 15,000 students, Baylor is an intellectual powerhouse that combines Christian thought and education on a campus that still feels like a close-knit community. There is plenty to do on campus with the school’s own bowling alley, frequent screenings of movies, farmers markets, and more. Additionally, the off-campus area boasts a nearby national park and weekend trips to Dallas and Austin. Established by the Union Baptist Association, it was rated the 72nd best school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

10. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas — They say everything’s bigger in Texas but TCU offers students a personalized feel through small class sizes and a 13-to-1 ratio of students to faculty. Attesting to its national reputation is its No. 82 ranking among the best U.S. universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Greek life here is popular, and on-campus camaraderie thrives thanks to TCU’s active athletic program — it’s not uncommon to find the Horned Frogs ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation. TCU’s proximity to Dallas and Arlington means there are plenty of activities for TCU’s nearly 10,000 students to explore. The school is associated by covenant with the Disciples of Christ Church.

11. Centre College, Danville, Kentucky — Centre College has 1,400 students, with a student-teacher ratio of 10.5 to 1. Students are very involved in sports, Greek life, and on-campus clubs at this village-based institution. Started by Presbyterians, the college’s name reflects its location in Kentucky. The school offers more than 2,000 events every year and has teamed with the Enterprise CarShare program to allow students to take trips to nearby areas. Students who demonstrate strong talent academically may join the John C. Young program, which allows them to travel and research, participate in the annual Research, Internships, and Creative Endeavors Symposium, or participate in a fellowship offered by the institution.

12. Luther College, Decorah, Iowa — More than 2,400 students attend this institution, according to The Princeton Review. While the school lacks the extensive diversity of some other institutions, the community on campus is close and the classes revolve around student discussions. Most students are Lutherans. Luther College also offers the January term, during which students can travel, learn, and explore. The unique interdisciplinary courses known as Paideia also encourage students to read, think, discuss, and write about topics and questions pertinent to the world around them.

13. Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, Minnesota — Close to 2,500 students attend Gustavus Adolphus College, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The village-like environment of the institution provides for a close-knit community on this liberal arts campus. The school has its own Fellowships Office that serves alumni and students interested in exploring various fellowships including the Truman, Fulbright, Goldwater, and Marshall Awards.

14. Hope College, Holland, Michigan — Hope is a liberal arts institution associated with the Reformed Church, a Protestant denomination of Dutch origin. The college has plenty of religious organizations and Bible studies and, although it is located in a suburban setting, Lake Michigan is only 10 minutes away. More than 3,300 undergraduates attend the college, according to The Princeton Review. The arts program hosts a visiting writers series where students can hear from professionals, and programs such as the CrossRoads Project aim to help students combine their faith with their career pursuits.

15. Whitworth University, Spokane, Washington — More than 2,300 religious students attend Whitworth. The college was founded by Presbyterians in a small urban setting. Whitworth features the January term, which many students use in order to study and travel abroad. Grounded in educating the mind and heart, Whitworth emphasizes not only academics, but also the spiritual growth of its students.

16. Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee — Located in a large urban environment, Rhodes is No. 51 on U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of national liberal arts colleges. A little over 2,000 students attend the liberal arts institution. The campus features breathtaking Gothic architecture, and a student-faculty ratio of just 11 to 1. Founded as a Masonic college, it was later passed along to the Presbyterian Church.

17. Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas — Trinity hosts nearly 2,300 students, according to The Princeton Review. Texas is the beating heart of the Bible belt, and students matriculating here will enjoy a Lone Star state culture that reinforces the values taught in their classrooms. San Antonio’s urban setting provides a wide variety of activities for students both on and off campus. Trinity was founded by Presbyterians. The university boasts 227 clubs and organizations, including a state-of-the-art communications center with two television stations and a campus radio station.

18. American University, Washington, D.C. — Those familiar with the international reputation of this influential institution in the nation’s capital may be unaware of its affiliation with the United Methodist Church. The student body is quite diverse, reflecting many faith backgrounds and national origins. The AU experience is often described by students as nondenominational, if not outright secular. Founded by a Methodist bishop, AU educates over 7,700 students on its large urban campus in northwest Washington, D.C. Party animals should be advised the campus is dry – alcohol is not permitted in dorms or at school events. But students report a lively social scene can be found within easy walking distance.

19. Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania — Lafayette College offers plenty of research opportunities and chances to study abroad in addition to its liberal arts program. The small urban institution is actively responsive to students and their thoughts while decisions are being made, according to The Princeton Review. The alumni network allows the school to offer career services to all of its 2,500 students on campus. U.S. News & World Report ranked it No. 37 among the nation’s liberal arts colleges.

20. Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina — This small urban community has a vibrant and involved Greek life that provides live bands, music, and dancing for all students to enjoy. The conservative campus is home to many students from the South and has a total undergraduate population of more than 1,600 students. The college was founded by Methodists, and its students remain strong in their beliefs today.

21. Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky — Transylvania students have the opportunity to go to school in a small urban setting where they can visit downtown theaters, art exhibitions, and events. Seventy percent of the approximately 1,000-member student body study abroad at some point during their college experience at this liberal arts school, according to The Princeton Review.

22. Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts — Gordon College is known for its generous merit-based financial aid, as well as for its internships, research, and fellowship opportunities related to the institution. The more than 1,700 students on campus create a close community, The Princeton Review reported. In a village setting, the institution offers various on-campus events and is a half hour ride from Boston. This liberal arts college stays true to its missionary founding.

23. Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia — Officially affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, Covenant College combines a liberal arts foundation with a Christian faith education. The small urban setting on a mountain allows for activities such as rock climbing, hiking, biking, and plenty more for its 1,100-student population.

24. Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina — This institution in a community environment hosts almost 1,150 students, according to The Princeton Review. The Honor System provides students with a mutually agreed-upon rule to respect other students at the institution. The college provides plenty of opportunities for its students to get involved and serve their community through Greek life philanthropy and other organizations.

25. Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio — The suburban setting of Wittenberg provides several parks for hiking and leisure. According to The Princeton Review, the nearly 2,000 students tend to be friendly and outgoing, participating in a variety of activities the campus offers. The college is a Lutheran-affiliated liberal arts school.

26. Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas — Southwestern University offers a plethora of activities at its suburban campus just 30 miles north of trendy Austin, Texas. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, this private institution is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 100 national liberal arts colleges, coming in at No. 90. With an undergraduate student body of just over 1,500 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 1, each scholar is sure to receive plenty of individual attention. It won’t be cheap, though: Tuition and fees run about $37,500 a year.

27. Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina — Davidson College provides a rigorous curriculum for educationally minded students. Basketball is a large part of the Tar Heel state, and Davidson is no exception — reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry led Davidson to the NCAA regional finals in 2008. Greek life is popular. Its female fraternities are known as "eating houses” rather than sororities. Its student population numbers about 1,800. This Presbyterian school also offers plenty of diversity, with a 77 percent out-of-state attendance rate, according to The Princeton Review.

28. Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi — Millsaps provides an educational experience in a large urban area where everyone knows everyone else’s name in an environment of less than 800 students. The campus is well known for its beauty, especially the schools' version of a quad called "The Bowl." The students at this Methodist institution reported having a strong desire to somehow make a difference in the world, according to The Princeton Review.

Pepperdine University, Malibu, California — This intimate campus with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean provides a personalized education where professors are willing to meet students for coffee or host a dinner with their class.

“You can see the ocean from most points on campus,” senior Makamae Palos told Newsmax. “That’s kind of special. It gives you something to be appreciative of every day.”

According to The Princeton Review, the nearly 3,500 students on campus are heavily involved in community service projects, and frequently attend mission trips and study abroad programs.

“Students are mostly Christian,” Palos added. “The question is never, ‘Do you go to church?’ The question is, ‘Which church are you going to this Sunday?’”

30. Southeastern University, Lakeland, Florida — This private, liberal arts university is the largest U.S. college associated with the Assemblies of God (AOG) denomination. With over 50 undergraduate degree programs, Southeastern ranks No. 42 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best regional colleges in the South. The campus is conveniently situated between Tampa to the west and Orlando to the northeast. Its student-to-faculty ratio stands at 19 to 1, and the university has expanded rapidly, from 2,500 students in 2012 to over 4,000 today. Southeastern gives students a chance to really connect with their faith: Last year alone, nearly 500 students and faculty members embarked on 52 international mission trips around the globe.

31. DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana — This university has an extremely popular Greek system in the tranquil town of Greencastle. DePauw uniquely partners with Posse Foundation in an effort to recruit students from urban areas, such as Chicago and New York City, to be a part of the 2,200-member student body. Students reported that leadership is strongly encouraged on the Methodist campus, according to The Princeton Review.

32. Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania — This institution is well-known for its arts program, according to The Princeton Review. The small urban campus has shuttles running to popular places in town that students can utilize, and while those attending Muhlenberg are busy with extracurricular activities and schoolwork, the weekend starts early as most students do not have class on Friday. Nearly 2,450 students attend the Lutheran college, although there is also a sizable Jewish population.

33. Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania — Some 2,000 students attend this institution. While a major and minor are required of graduating students, they can be unrelated, allowing for flexibility in pursuing interests and developing one’s own education. A Trinitarian Congregationalist founded the college 200 years ago, and the campus tends to lean left, The Princeton Review reported.

Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma — This institution rests on a moral honor code that provides for a respectful environment and a great discussion of ideas, according to The Princeton Review. Tulsa has a ton of shops and restaurants, and the campus boasts its own Chick-fil-A. Dorm groups provide a support system and community feel for students of the same gender, and mirror halls provide integration with the opposite sex. Nearly 3,000 students of many denominations attend the university, and the school works to help its students grow in mind, body, and spirit.

35. George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon — The village setting of George Fox University does not deter activity, as sports are extremely popular at the college and plenty of activities on campus are available to the nearly 2,400-student population. All alcoholic substances, even if a student is over the age of 21, are completely prohibited on the Quaker-founded institution’s site, according to The Princeton Review.

36. Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas — Hendrix, a liberal arts school, has a little more than 1,400 students, many of whom tend to be liberal. This Methodist college offers a unique program known as Your Hendrix Odyssey, which requires students to take specialized courses, participate in pre-approved activities, or propose their own projects to complete the six categories of the intellectual journey, which can include hands-on learning subjects such as printmaking or traveling to Prague to observe ballroom dancing.

37. Sewanee - The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee — This liberal arts institution has a student population of over 1,600. Most students are conservative, and the rural university is traditional in that professors must wear academic gowns for instruction. Its honor code is revered, and students reportedly enjoy the beauty of the mountainous landscape, according to The Princeton Review. The university was founded by Episcopalian clergy.

38. Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa — Wartburg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church and is a liberal arts school. Students tend to lean right and take advantage of the school’s well-known reputation, The Princeton Review reported. The college has a unique May term that provides the 1,800 students with even more opportunities. The fierce winter months are no deterrent because skywalks connect the buildings, providing relief from the cold and snow.

39. Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana — Close to 1,150 students attend this rural Presbyterian institution that is constantly buzzing with activity. Students said they enjoy partaking in the college’s traditions such as the first-snowfall midnight snowball fight and spring whiffle ball tournament. Hanover is known for science programs and facilities that few other undergraduate schools can offer.

40. Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio — Ohio Wesleyan is a liberal arts college that offers an international experience through promoting travel learning courses and study abroad programs that are complemented by its sizable international student population. More than 1,700 students attend the Wesleyan university, according to The Princeton Review. The suburban environment offers plenty to do, including the JAYwalk, a gathering area for students where they can find conversations and free food, at times.

41. Taylor University, Upland, Indiana — Taylor provides an education that is leadership-driven and Christ-centered, according to The Princeton Review. It is a liberal arts institution with some strict rules, including dorm visitation hours. The rural campus offers plenty to do through campus activities for the more than 2,100 students. The school was founded by the Methodist Episcopalian Church.

“The community at Taylor is a unique aspect because we have freshmen living in the same dorms as upperclassmen. Having ‘intentional community’ is very important,” sophomore Elyse Baron told Newsmax. “Chapel is not mandatory although we are always encouraged to go. Even though no one takes attendance, chapel is always full. People on the same wing will encourage other people to come to chapel and people always want to be there.”

42. Chapman University, Orange, California — Chapman’s nearly 6,300 students reported that they are social, active, and outgoing, according to The Princeton Review. With plenty to do practically right around the corner, including Disneyland and California’s many beaches, students are busy with schoolwork and leisure activities. Chapman was founded by members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

43. College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri — This Presbyterian college is free, offering its more than 1,400 students the opportunity to receive a Christian education without incurring debt. The alcohol- and drug-free institution is known for being conservative and patriotic. Freshmen are greeted with an entire week of orientation, which allows them to become familiar with campus. Typically, those who attend C of O have part-time employment. This year, the college was ranked No. 2 on Christian Universities Online’s list of “The 50 Most Affordable Christian Colleges and Universities.”

“College of the Ozarks is unique because all students work, rather than pay, to defray the cost of education,” senior Katie Brooke Linson told Newsmax. “Students work at over 100 workstations on campus that range from administrative offices, the farm, to the four-star restaurant and lodge, The Keeter Center. The work-study program is a great way to get practical work experience before even graduating college. We were given the name Hard Work U by The Wall Street Journal for this reason.”

44. Central College, Pella, Iowa — Almost 1,500 students attend Central in its village setting. The college’s curriculum is built around a Christian liberal arts tradition. It values its longtime relationship with the Reformed Church in America. The college is dedicated to sustainability and features a European-inspired dining hall, according to its website.

45. Messiah College, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania — Messiah is set in a village environment. The nearly 3,000 students make their own fun enjoying each other’s company and participating in plenty of activities outdoors. Messiah was founded by the Brethren of Christ Church. The school reportedly provides a rigorous curriculum that is aimed at growing students’ intellect as well as their Christian characters, according to The Princeton Review.

46. Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas — More than 1,500 students attend Ouachita in its charming village environment, according to its website. The liberal arts college aims to help its students thrive in all areas of their lives with a cornerstone set in the Christian life. The school hosts an annual Scholars Day where academic achievements are recognized and celebrated.

47. Union University, Jackson, Tennessee — Union is located in a small urban environment. The university is fairly strict with its policies, as it is a smoke- and alcohol-free campus and restricts visitation hours in dorms for its more than 2,800 students. Most students are conservatives and are involved in churches through extracurricular activities and mission trips, The Princeton Review reported.

48. Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska — This college is affiliated with the Methodist Church, but students say it offers a family feel for all who come into the small urban community, according to The Princeton Review. All campus activities are well-attended, and although it is not a dry campus, most students report they are not interested in partying with alcohol. The more than 1,800 students on campus typically lean left.

49. University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma — Located in a large urban area, this liberal arts university provides plenty to do both on and off campus for its nearly 3,500 students. The city offers art shows, museums, and the historic district to enjoy. Additionally, 37 percent of students are from outside the United States, thus providing a great opportunity to experience new ideas and cultures. Its roots are in the Presbyterian tradition.

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50. Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois — Nestled in the rural setting of Jacksonville, Illinois College hosts about 900 students. This Presbyterian institution affords students plenty of opportunities to get involved and get ahead in their careers by offering leadership opportunities. The Curricular Practical Training allows for temporary off-campus practical training related to its majors, and the True Blue Institute provides sessions for students to learn the tools necessary for becoming successful leaders. Illinois Central is rising fast in major rankings, at No. 38 in the Midwest and No. 136 in U.S. News & World Report’s liberal arts category — a jump of 19 spots.

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan — This large urban institution offers plenty to students. Concerts are common on campus, and the nearly 3,900 students enjoy campus traditions such as “Jump into the Frozen Pond,” where students receive a golden towel after jumping into the campus mere for all four years, The Princeton Review reported. The college integrates Christian faith into the learning experience through its relations with the Christian Reformed Church.

52. University of Evansville, Evansville, Indiana — This university offers a personalized environment with a diverse population of students from across the country and around the world. Its setting in the third-largest city in the state provides plenty for its more than 2,400 undergraduate students to do between off-campus and on-campus activities sponsored by student organizations. The school is a liberal arts college associated with the United Methodist Church.

53. Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California — Close to the beach, Westmont offers a breathtaking setting for a college education. This liberal arts institution features a unique May term, providing its students with an opportunity to easily travel and study abroad. Some rules are strict, including one that requires students to leave their dorm doors open when a member of the opposite sex visits, and chapel is required three times a week. Most students are conservatives, but there are plenty of debates to go around for the more than 1,300 students.

54. Alma College, Alma, Michigan — Plenty of volunteer opportunities await Alma in serving the local schools, working at the community soup kitchen, or helping with charity events, The Princeton Review noted. The special spring term offered by the institution allows students to travel to other countries to study and experience an education in a new environment outside the village town. Most of the 1,400 students plan to attend graduate school, and the campus rests more on the left of the political spectrum.

55. Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, California — This liberal arts university, home to more than 1,750 students, offers plenty to do and many ways for its students to lead a Christ-centered life. The school offers beach access from campus and plenty of opportunities to stay active in San Diego. The university’s LoveWorks Short-term Mission Program has offered students and faculty the chance to serve in more than 60 different areas of the world, according to its website. The school started as a Bible college.

56. Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin — This environmental liberal arts school offers passionate teachers who are interested in the subjects they teach. The curriculum offers popular environmental and natural resource studies and boasts green campus activities such as growing a community garden, hosting bike programs, and using renewable energy systems. About 600 students attend this institution that has maintained its relationship with the United Church of Christ since its establishment.

57. Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa — Dordt is a liberal arts school affiliated with the Reformed Church, and it offers a Christ-centered perspective for its nearly 1,400 undergraduates. According to The Princeton Review, spiritual life is vibrant on campus as the school hosts Praise and Worship services every Wednesday night. Students are mostly conservative and, while the small village setting constrains most activities to on-campus, students find plenty to do.

58. North Central College, Naperville, Illinois — This institution offers plenty of opportunities, such as its study abroad program, and it is keen on encouraging its students to perform individual research and independent studies, The Princeton Review reported. Additionally, the school is only a 45-minute Metra ride to downtown Chicago, which also means that the campus is a suitcase school where many of the nearly 2,800 students return home for the weekend. The school was founded by the Evangelical Association, which is now known as the United Methodist Church.

59. Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama — This Christian institution provides well-rounded course offerings as a part of its liberal arts curriculum and encourages religious discussion in class. There are worship opportunities five days a week, and most students participate in at least one, according to The Princeton Review. Birmingham’s suburban environment provides plenty of activities for the more than 3,000 students to enjoy, as well. Samford was founded by the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

60. Corban University, Salem, Oregon — In order to attend Corban, students must write a profession of faith in Christ, thus creating a religious environment. The more than 1,000 students are mostly conservatives and receive instruction on Christ and Scripture, regardless of whatever the subject may be in class, The Princeton Review reported. The small urban setting also provides a variety of geographic activities for students, from skiing and snowboarding in the mountains to boating on the lake and relaxing on the beach. The school is a part of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.

61. Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana — Valparaiso is a Lutheran-founded university just about an hour’s drive from Chicago. It offers a liberal arts education to its roughly 4,500 graduate and undergraduate students, and the institution seeks to instill within its students a desire to pursue the truth as they learn to follow their vocations and find their place in the communities around them.

62. Franklin College, Franklin, Indiana — Nearly 1,100 students attend Franklin in its village environment. According to its website, the school is a liberal arts institution only 20 minutes from Indianapolis and boasts 207 acres, including a 31-acre biology woodland. The school is associated with the American Baptist Churches USA.

63. Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma — This liberal arts college offers more than 80 fields of study, according to The Princeton Review. More than 1,900 students frequently partake in intellectual, spiritual, and philosophical discussions. Residential life offers activities throughout the year, and nearby Oklahoma City features lots of restaurants and movies.

64. Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee — Not surprisingly, students at this Nashville campus have a passion for music. The dry campus is full of students frequently practicing their instruments or venturing into the city to enjoy the array of concerts and performances available. More than 5,800 students attend this service-oriented institution that offers disaster relief trips across the globe. There are plenty of opportunities to serve, including the annual sports evangelism mission trips to South Africa, Ukraine, and Brazil for student athletes. The Tennessee Baptist Convention helped establish the university.

65. Augustana College - South Dakota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota — Augustana offers a liberal arts education and a well-rounded college experience, encouraging its students to study abroad, The Princeton Review reported. Sioux Falls affords varied opportunities off-campus and the approximately 1,700 students can find plenty to do on school grounds, as well. Plenty of nontraditional students attend this school that is associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

66. Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio — Because it is a little far from town, Cedarville University students enjoy activities on campus offered by the school, as well as plans that the students develop themselves, according to The Princeton Review. Religious life thrives at the Baptist institution as everyone is involved in some sort of ministry, and the more than 3,300 students attend chapel every day. Academics are aimed at equipping students to make a difference for Christ.

“We’re one of the only Christian, Christ-centered colleges that still has chapel five days a week,” senior Anna Dembowski told Newsmax. “It’s a family devotion time where all students can come together and just refocus. That’s something I’ve really enjoyed and what drew me to the college. Cedarville is not ashamed of being a Christian college.”

67. Vanguard University of Southern California, Costa Mesa, California — Sunny California hosts Vanguard, which allows for easy access to beaches. Students stay busy and active with the numerous activities on campus and venture into the Los Angeles area from time to time, as well. Nearby Disneyland is also very popular, according to The Princeton Review. The university tends to lean conservative, but it is also welcoming and hosts a weeklong campaign at the beginning of the year for new students joining its 1,900 undergraduate population. It was originally started by the Assemblies of God as a Bible college.

68. Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — Nicknamed “Over-Committed University,” this institution produces students who are hardworking and involved, especially as a result of its well-known performing arts school, The Princeton Review noted. This university of nearly 1,800 students offers plenty to do on and off campus in Oklahoma City’s large urban environment. The school is associated with the United Methodist Church.

69. California Baptist University, Riverside, California — More than 6,400 students attend this university that boasts one of the region’s largest aquatic centers and one of the nation’s most advanced music production and recording facilities, according to its website. All dorms are separated by gender, and the school owns several apartments and houses off-campus. The university has plenty of campus traditions that students enjoy throughout the year, as well.

70. Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana — Nearly 3,000 students attend this evangelical, liberal arts school, which has been Indiana’s fastest-growing university for the past two years. New programs have stemmed from its growth, including an honors college and nursing school, according to the school’s website. Additionally, Indiana Wesleyan has options to help students graduate in three years in order to save money and time via summer courses while providing college credits for Advanced Placement, dual enrollment, and International Baccalaureate programs.

71. Concordia University - Nebraska, Seward, Nebraska — This campus of more than 1,600 students was founded by The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Most students enjoy clubs related to their majors, but there are plenty of service-related organizations as well, according to the school's website. Concordia’s close community provides for unity on campus, as well as a competitive and encouraging spirit.

72. California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California — More than 2,800 students attend this Christian, liberal arts institution. The college is nestled between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, thus creating a great location to attend school. There are plenty of hands-on ways to learn, including research opportunities and other programs, such as the KCLU radio station. The school walks with its students every step of the way on their college journey with its 4 to Finish program. It ensures students graduate within four years.

73. Concordia College, Moorhead, Maine — More than 2,800 students attend Concordia College, a liberal arts institution associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The town of Moorhead offers plenty of internship and employment opportunities for students. Additionally, the school provides research opportunities and study abroad programs. The music department is very popular and students enjoy the college’s traditions, such as themed meals in the dining hall, its website noted.

74. Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington — This school of more than 3,250 students was founded by Free Methodist pioneers. The Seattle urban setting provides students with plenty of entertainment opportunities and more. Business professors have more than 100 local guest speakers in their classrooms every year while theology classes visit local churches of all denominations. This university also has a unique mentorship program to provide students with connections and help guide them to their career goals.

75. Milligan College, Milligan College, Tennessee — Some 1,200 students attend Milligan College, which is affiliated with the nondenominational Christian Churches. It is a liberal arts institution that focuses on helping students to see God’s hand in all subjects, according to its website. The school offers chapel services and mission trips to help students grow in their faith, and with a majority of the students living on campus, Milligan foments a close community.

76. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas — Some 3,650 students attend Abilene, which was started by a Church of Christ preacher. The school aims to provide a 21st-century approach to education by hosting speakers from all over the world, encouraging the use of smartphones to research information, and providing study abroad opportunities to deepen discussion. The campus is quite strict with dorm visitation hours, mandatory chapel, and no smoking or alcohol allowed.

77. Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California — Azusa is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and proudly promotes evangelicalism. With its challenging academics, the university provides additional support outside faculty hours with a math and writing center, according to The Princeton Review. More than 6,150 students attend this institution in California, where there are plenty of activities to enjoy nearby.

78. John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas — John Brown, named after the early 20th century Methodist evangelist John E. Brown, strives to incorporate Christ into all aspects of college life from the classroom to the athletic courts to work-study positions. The honors program offers research opportunities, conferences, and study abroad options. With intramurals, student performances and publications, and campus ministries, there are plenty of ways in which students can get involved.

79. Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota — Augsburg is a popular school for nontraditional students. The Day Program provides outstanding education for high school graduates while the Weekend College Program allows older students to hit the books, too. The school aims for its more than 3,150 students to incorporate a study abroad program or internship into their major curriculum. Hockey and wrestling are popular athletic events, and students often travel off campus to go watch a game at the Metrodome. The institution’s StepUP program gives the campus more diversity by enrolling students who are recovering from substance abuse.

80. Erskine College, Due West, South Carolina — Erskine is a liberal arts college located in a historic neighborhood, with more than 500 students. The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church established the school. Many Erskine students move on to pursuing a graduate education, according to its website. The school holds a weekly convocation and chapel events to host speakers, activities, and discussions that provide a Christian worldview. There are also plenty of other student organizations and sports teams to join on campus.

81. Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — Students rave about the engaging faculty at this conservative school, according to The Princeton Review. The school associates with the Church of Christ, and most students are Christians. The campus provides lots of diversity with more than 1,900 students. Devotionals are popular and attending church on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening is common because the school closes the library and cafeteria during those times to encourage it. There’s plenty to do in the city, and basketball is popular on campus. Instead of fraternities and sororities, the school has social service clubs.

82. Bethel College, Mishawaka, Indiana — Associated with the Missionary Church, the college is right down the street from the University of Notre Dame, and about a two-hour drive from Chicago. About 2,000 students attend, and almost all of them receive some financial assistance. This may explain why Washington Monthly recently ranked Bethel 16th out of 403 institutions in the Midwest, in its 2015 “Best Bang for the Buck Colleges” list.

Bethel offers a full range of chapel programs, including music organizations, drama clubs, and opportunities to hear faculty testimonies. Leadership groups such as BUILD help students learn skills useful for career development.

83. Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, New York — This institution provides a place where more than 1,300 students can think and come to their own conclusions as they engage in small class discussions. Students pass the time with each other at school activities and hang out in the library. Roberts rose four spots in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of best colleges in the Northern region, placing 83rd out of nearly 200 schools. The school was started within the Free Methodist Church.

84. Houghton College, Houghton, New York — Houghton provides a liberal arts education with a focus on Christ. Classes begin with prayer, and many students are part of the college’s legacy, going to the same institution as their siblings, parents, or other relatives. The more than 1,000 students lean conservative. The Wesleyan Methodist Connection started Houghton.

85. Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia — This liberal arts university combines a typical education with an understanding based in ethics and spiritual well-being, according to its website. Critical thinking is an important part of what students learn at this college. There are numerous activities in which students may get involved, and the school provides services to help students in every aspect of their lives. A unique program called CoachLink targets students struggling with anxiety and depression by pairing them with coaches to get them acclimated to college and decision-making.

86. Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee — This suburban institution provides a strong Christian education to more than 1,000 students. The college was founded to honor William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, who came to Dayton for the Scopes Evolution Trial in 1925, according to the school's website. Eight denominations participated in its creation: Presbyterians, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Brethren members, Christian Missionary Alliance members, and Methodist Episcopalians. The core curriculum aims to provide a Christian worldview as students grow in knowledge. There is plenty to do on campus, and Dayton provides museums, parks, and nature centers, as well as much more, to enjoy.

87. Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana — Nearly 800 students attend this institution that is associated with the Mennonite Church USA. It is a liberal arts school that promotes sustainability and social justice in an effort to create peace, according to its website. Intercultural and international education fosters leadership in its students, and the college works to be a catalyst for positive change. U.S. News & World Report ranked it 127th nationally among liberal arts colleges.

88. Albion College, Albion, Michigan — Albion is a liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It encourages students to ask questions and perform critical thinking. Major cities are not too far away from the town, and Greek life is the cornerstone of activity on campus.

“The professors of Albion were one of my solidifying reasons for choosing Albion. The staff of Albion are very friendly and always so willing to help,” junior Kate Casebeer told Newsmax. “I've seen alumni return years later and encounter one of their favorite lunch ladies. Both of their faces will light up with recognition and they will start chatting immediately.”

89. Waynesburg University, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania — Personalized guidance in career planning and hands-on learning direct the education found at Waynesburg for its nearly 1,600 students, its website reported. It is an alcohol-free campus with leadership activities through partnerships with 50 local organizations. The campus supports plenty of other fun opportunities for students, as well. The school was founded by Presbyterians.

90. University of Mobile, Mobile, Alabama — Some 1,400 students attend this university, which provides an education with a foundation on Biblical principles applied to students’ studies and lives. The Mobile Baptist Association started Mobile first as a liberal arts college. Since then, the university has grown. With plenty to do on campus, Mobile is also only one hour from the Gulf of Mexico. Its new residence halls conveniently offer free laundry facilities, and the school is also an exclusive sponsor of the Winter Jam tour, a large, annual Christian concert, according to its website.

91. Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana — Anderson is affiliated with the Church of God, and although chapel is required, faith also unites the nearly 2,000 students on campus, The Princeton Review reported. While the campus leans right, there is plenty of room for debate and discussion inside and outside the classroom. Though the dry campus does drive many students to leave on weekends, the large residential life fosters a solid community.

Johnson University, Knoxville, Tennessee — Johnson’s curriculum includes a Biblical, arts, and science core to equip students in all aspect of their lives. The school has its own recording studio to produce commercial-quality tracks with a ProTools HD system. The Smoky Mountains make for a good day trip, and campus traditions such as a city-wide service day and Founders’ Day Battle of the Campus keep things interesting for the more than 1,000 students on campus, according to the school’s website.

93. Asbury University, Wilmore, Kentucky — More than 1,300 students aspiring after academic excellence and spiritual vitality attend Asbury, and its freshman retention rate is impressive, at over 85 percent. Students are expected to honor the lifestyle standard listed in their Handbook for Community Life to create a safe and welcoming community. The school was started by a Methodist evangelist and teaches in the Wesleyan theological tradition. Renowned Asbury Theological Seminary, which is located right across the street from the university, became a separate institution in 1940.

94. LeTourneau University, Longview, Texas — More than 2,200 students study at this higher education institution. It is a nondenominational Christian school that was originally founded to serve soldiers returning from war. The school boasts a state-of-the-art performance center and stage that doubles as the school’s chapel where students can worship and hear speeches from Christian leaders. Built originally as a technical institute, the university still carries its entrepreneurial spirit by encouraging students to be innovative.

95. Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee — Southern Adventist University provides an education to get students closer to a relationship with Jesus Christ, according to The Princeton Review. Its location near the Tennessee River gives students the opportunity to experience many activities from kayaking and canoeing to camping and skydiving. There are several strict rules on campus, including a dress code, mandatory worship services, and prohibitions against jewelry, dancing, and serving meat in the cafeteria because it is a Seventh-day Adventist institution. More than 2,700 students attend.

96. Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania — Grove City was founded on nondenominational, nonsectarian Christian principles with the purpose of creating an environment conducive to Christian unity. The college of over 2,400 students seeks to nurture intellectual, moral, and social development. Although Grove City does accept qualified students “without regard to religious test or belief,” according to its website, the college advocates for Christianity and presents Christian principles in its academics, chapel, activities, and residence halls.

97. Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania — Eastern University, which is located conveniently near Philadelphia, seeks to provide its interdenominational student body of over 3,700 with an education informed by faith, reason, and justice. The university is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, and it offers 45 majors and 37 minors for undergraduate students, as well as 26 master’s programs and five doctoral programs for graduate students.

98. Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi — Belhaven University is a liberal arts institution that strives to cultivate Christian excellence within its roughly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located within the heart of one of Jackson’s historic neighborhoods, Belhaven is one of only 30 U.S. schools that is nationally accredited for all four of the arts: music, dance, visual art, and theater.

99. Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee — Lee University seeks to combine a passionate pursuit of biblical truth with a desire to understand and excel in the arts and sciences through a liberal arts education for its roughly 5,000 students. Sponsored by the Church of God, Lee began as a Bible Training School in 1918.

100. Patrick Henry College, Purcellville, Virginia — Patrick Henry College was founded in 2000 as a private classical liberal arts school with an Evangelical Christian basis that focuses on the intersection between faith and reason in pursuing truth. The college requires a 63-credit core curriculum in studies pertaining to the classical liberal arts, and its location approximately an hour west of Washington, D.C., affords excellent internship opportunities for its roughly 320 students. PHC offers seven majors with various specialization tracks.

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Selecting a college is hard enough. But choosing a school that agrees with one's religious convictions can indeed be a test of faith. Here is a list of Newsmax's top 100 evangelical Christian colleges in America.
top, evangelical, christian, colleges, newsmax
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 11:30 AM
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