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College Counseling: Great Faith-Based Colleges

Saturday, September 06, 2014


George Fox University, M.O. Stevens via Wikimedia Commons.

Faith-based colleges and universities are most often private liberal arts colleges that are supported by a religious body. The category also includes seminaries, Bible schools, and training programs for theologians and religious leaders.

Each offers a variety of majors and minors, and each uniquely weaves theology into the curriculum. Some have behavioral norms and requirements for undergraduates that reinforce their values in class and out.

The following five faith-based colleges integrate their founders’ teachings into the academic and cultural landscape of the campus.

Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, www.byu.edu

  • The campus was originally 1 acre in downtown Provo (1875) and now occupies more 600 acres for 27,000 undergraduates in that location, plus campuses in Hawaii and Idaho. 
  • BYU’s Center for Language Study offers classes in 55 languages, from Afrikaans to Malagasy to Welsh
  • By the numbers: 55 percent acceptance rate; Mid-range SAT Scores: Critical Reading 580-690, Math 590-690, Mid-range ACT composite: 26-30


George Fox University, Newberg, OR, www.georgefox.edu

  • Ranked in Forbes’ Top Ten Christian Colleges, 2013
  • George Fox University seeks to prepare students spiritually, academically, and professionally; to think with clarity, act with integrity, and serve with passion, with Christ at the center of the institution
  • By the numbers: 75 percent acceptance rate; Mid-range SAT scores: Critical Reading  490-630, Math 500-620; Mid-range ACT composite: 21-27 


Naropa University, Boulder, CO, www.naropa.edu

  • Education at Naropa begins with each student learning about him/herself through contemplative practice
  • Unique undergraduate majors are offered in Contemplative Psychology, Traditional Eastern Arts, and Peace Studies
  • By the numbers: 83 percent acceptance rate; Test optional


Whitworth University, Spokane, WA, www.whitworth.edu

  • The college seeks to equip students to “honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.”
  • The Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement is known nationally for its experiential learning opportunities for Whitworth students
  • By the numbers: 52 percent acceptance rate; Mid-range SAT scores: Critical Reading 540-650, Math 550-660, Mid-range ACT composite: 24-29


Yeshiva University, New York, NY, www.yu.edu

  • Located in three Manhattan locations, Yeshiva is dedicated to supporting the totality of Jewish life among its students on campus
  • Most popular majors are business/marketing, biological and life sciences, and psychology
  • By the numbers: 84 percent acceptance rate; Mid-range SAT scores: Critical Reading 530-680, Math 550-680, Mid-range ACT composite:  22-29


Other notable faith-based colleges and universities include St. Martin’s University (WA), Pepperdine University (CA), Westmont College (CA), Wheaton College (IL), Biola University (CA), Azusa Pacific University (CA), Soka University of America (CA), Gonzaga University (WA), Calvin College (MI) and hundreds of others.

For an overview of faith-based schools, go to http://www.faithbasedschools.org, www.christiancollegeguide.net, or  http://www.catholiccollegesonline.net.

Emily Standish

Emily Standish is a partner in Portland, Oregon-based College Admission Coach LLC (www.collegeadmissioncoach.com), which helps students identify and gain admission to right-fit schools where they will thrive academically and personally. Contact me at [email protected].


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