The Most and Least Religious Colleges: 2009

The Princeton Review just came out with its annual college rankings in a variety of categories, including religion.

Here’s where the schools rank:

The Least Religious Schools:

1Lewis & Clark CollegePortland, OR
2Eugene Lang College — The New School for Liberal ArtsNew York, NY
3Reed CollegePortland, OR
4Bennington CollegeBennington, VT
5Bard College, Annandale-on-HudsonHudson, NY
6Emerson CollegeBoston, MA
7Bard College at Simon’s RockGreat Barrington, MA
8Sarah Lawrence CollegeBronxville, NY
9Vassar CollegePoughkeepsie, NY
10Hampshire CollegeAmherst, MA

The Most Religious Schools:

1Brigham Young University (UT)Provo, UT
2University of Notre DameSouth Bend, IN
3Wheaton College (IL)Wheaton, IL
4Grove City CollegeGrove City, PA
5Hillsdale CollegeHillsdale, MI
6University of DallasIrving, TX
7Thomas Aquinas CollegeSanta Paula, CA
8College of the OzarksPoint Lookout, MO
9Furman UniversityGreenville, SC
10Samford UniversityBirmingham, AL

Where did these rankings come from?

Both lists are based on students’ answers to the survey question that asked “How much do you agree or disagree with the statement: Students are very religious at my college.” Students indicated their answers on a five- point grid with choices ranging from “Strongly agree” to “Strongly disagree.”

Any surprises on the list?

(via Dallas Morning News)

  • P.S.

    Only that Furman and not Bob Jones was Greenville’s representative for the most religious.

  • JustinM

    Grove City! Holy crap! That’s only surprising due to its proximity, but not at all surprising from the stories I’ve heard.

    I’m actually kind of surprised my alma mater didn’t make the list. The only conclusion I can come to is that nobody submitted an answered survey.

  • Brian E

    What was the criteria used to determine the ‘religiosity’ of a school?

  • mike

    Clearly they were only looking at real colleges. Otherwise I would have expected Bob Jones, Liberty, Regents and Pensacola Christian to top the list of most religious.

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    What Mike said; I was looking for Bob Jones, Bryan college, etc.

    I do honestly wonder about Boston College and Baylor.

  • Akheloios

    I can never remember the difference between Rodger Young and Brigham Young.

    One was a hero though I think.

  • Jasen

    Pensacola for sure, even Christian colleges make fun of them. Also Oral Roberts.

  • Xeonicus

    I think I could have put a $5000 bet on the fact that Alabama, Texas, and Utah were guaranteed place holders and I wouldn’t have broken a sweat worrying about losing.

    Notre Dame though… I didn’t know they had a lot of religious alumni.

    On a side note… it looks like Portland is the place to move to.

  • http://mylongapostasy.blogspot.com ATL-Apostate

    Glad to see my alma mater NOT on the most religious list.
    Have to echo the sentiments of some other posters – no Bob Jones or Oral Roberts? Guess they were only surveying accredited universities…

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/OD3NLG4ZDJVX3WV75UU5QCTWD4 Kenner

      Bob Jones is  accredited, it’s  accreditation is recognized by the dept of education (Unfortunately.) The students are probably forbiden from answering any such questions from the godless.

  • http://jimloomis.deviantart.com Jimmy

    I live really close to Grove City and absolutely expected them to be on the list. They’re also on the top ten list for “worst party school”.

    Irony? Nope.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Interesting that all the least religious are in Oregon and New York/England. Hmm. I’ve heard that Seattle has a very high percentage of atheists also.

  • Ron in Houston

    The surprise for me was University of Dallas, Irving. When I look at Texas colleges, I’d have picked Baylor and not the University of Dallas.

  • http://www.spazeboy.net Beau

    My school, Wesleyan University, is the 11th least religious. If only it were less religious, it would have made it into the post on here.

    I guess this means that I have to bust my ass before I graduate to make sure we get in the top 10 next year.

  • http://hjhop.blogspot.com Bing McGhandi

    Notre Dame. You should have seen some of the stuff that we did during the 4 years I was there!

    HJ

  • elf_man

    Yay, Lewis and Clark. Good school. My brother went there. From the sound of it it isn’t so much that it isn’t religious as there’s a pretty wide variety of people with a live and let live attitude towards religion or lack thereof. Plenty of people, even very strong Christians, who wouldn’t define themselves as religious.

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  • http://noadi.blogspot.com/ Noadi

    I went to Marlboro College not far from Bennington. Bennington has a reputation for public nudity among it’s students, I’d guess that would scare off a lot of religious students.

    Marlboro while pretty non-religious had a lot of woo loving students, the skeptic in my frequently wanted to bash her head against the wall when students would start sounding like the stereotype of a spaced out hippy.

  • Ben

    Hey HJ I’m a fellow domer! I knew it was a Catholic school when I went, but I didn’t realize they meant REALLY Catholic (like 80+%). Guess when you’re Catholic you can do whatever you want, then confess and it’s all good! :-)

    Also, I took a visit to Grove City College while in high school (sorry…I was stupid then). On the tour, our guide made sure to tell us to notice how spotless the floors along the hallway were (it’s next to godliness you know!). Anyway, when I asked if they ever had any concerts or comedians, her eyes got really wide and she said something like “well…we have some Christian music and speakers sometimes.” Yes…that’s when I decided it wasn’t the place for me! Seems I should have gone to Portland instead…

  • Elsa

    I went to high school in New Castle, PA, and I went to Grove City’s recruitment meeting (because my mom wanted me to stay close). I stopped listening the moment they told us that you had to go to “chapel” 15 times a semester. Also, the fact that every single person in their brochure was white kind of creeped me out–even if your student body is 99.9% white, don’t most colleges make the effort to get the one black/Asian kid on campus into a publicity photo to reflect “diversity”? Who doesn’t want to look diverse?

  • Ngeli

    The really important question is whether there is a correlation between the position on the respective lists and the ranking in terms of quality of studying.

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  • Lee

    I think I would have been more interested to see a list of the most religious public colleges. All of the schools on the “most” list are private, and I’m pretty sure almost all of them have a religious affiliation. Since churches take care of their own and give kids scholarships to their faith’s private school, this isn’t terribly shocking.

  • http://www.steelcityskeptics.net Eliza

    As a teen transplanted from Philly to the Grove City area, I questioned the weird creepiness of the deserted campus there. Why was no one studying under the ample shade trees or playing frisbee on the quad? I was told that they’ve a strict policy against walking on the grass. I didn’t think they could possibly get more ridiculous than that. … And then years later they hired Guillermo Gonzalez.

  • Vincent

    Only thing that surprises me is the geography.
    The most religious 10 are in 10 different states, ranging from CA to SC and spread all over the middle (no Oral Roberts University???).
    The 10 least religious are in NY, MA, OR and one in VT.
    Notice 3 of those states conjoin.
    Surely that’s more than just the congregation of universities in the Northeast.

  • http://atheistsage.blogspot.com/ Sage

    What I love about Hampshire is that Christianity isn’t even close to being the dominant faith on campus. After no affiliation, the largest religious group on campus is probably Jewish. And naturally any Christian wouldn’t be understood outside of a liberal setting as “Christian”.

  • Mike J.C.

    Charleston Southern Univ. (North Charleston, SC) is missing. It was originally called Baptist College at Charleston and is obviously affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Unfortunately, I attended this school for a couple of years. In fact, that pretty much solidified my atheism.

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  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Pleased, although not surprised, to see my own alma mater on the Least list at #3. Reed was actually founded as a non- denominational school with no religious affiliation… which, at the time it was founded (1908), was extremely unusual. Nice to see them get their props.

  • http://meadonmanhattan.wordpress.com/ Dootz

    What I’m curious about is the definition of “least religious”. How do you define and then locate the absence of something, or do you define its antithesis and then look for it? Did the researchers determine that an atheist worldview was present at the 10 Least Religious?

    ********************
    http://meadonmanhattan.wordpress.com/

  • KathleenM

    Gotta love the lists — it’s like New England vs Hillbillyville.
    And Bard College at Annandale — that where the two guys in Steely Dan are from.

  • Alyssa

    Oh Hampshire…it’s so true, the only remotely religious kids I knew were Jewish – and exactly one Catholic, who had a pretty hard time fitting in (although I could make an argument for Hipster as a religion).

    Funny that Vassar is on there, I would not have expected that one.

  • cipher

    I would have expected Bob Jones, Liberty, Regents and Pensacola Christian to top the list of most religious.

    Along with that conservative Catholic college in Florida that was just founded a few years ago – Ave Maria, I think?

    I do honestly wonder about Boston College and Baylor.

    BC ain’t all that that religious. I think that with BC students in general, it’s more a matter of being culturally Catholic – in much the same way that Brandeis kids are culturally Jewish.

    And they’re mostly liberal Catholics, in any case.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/abtothestract Peter

    I’m pretty damn happy to see this. I’m going to Emerson next year, and while I found out a lot about student life while visiting, I never had the guts to ask this question because I took my visits with my father, a conservative pastor who, coincidentally, went to Wheaton. It’s a relief to know I’ll get to hang with other godless heathens like myself. Plus, it also snagged top honors on the PR for ‘Worst Athletics Program’! Whoo whoo!


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