Reed, BYU Ranked as Most Secular, Religious

The Christian Century, September 20, 2005 | Go to article overview

Reed, BYU Ranked as Most Secular, Religious


If you are about to spend $40,000 a year to send your offspring to Reed College in Portland, Oregon, you can rest assured that he or she will get the nation's top-ranked overall academic experience for undergrads. The one thing the Reed student won't get, however, is much time with God, at least according to the newest rankings from the Princeton Review.

Reed, a private liberal arts and sciences school, placed first in overall academic excellence in the annual survey of 110,000 college students, but it also topped the category of schools where "students ignore God on a regular basis."

"Sometimes perception is a little different than reality," said Reed spokesperson Beth Sorenson, who downplayed the religion score but happily trumpeted the academic rating released August 22.

Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, the mecca of Mormon higher education, was rated the nation's most religious university. Perhaps not surprisingly, BYU also was dubbed the "most stone-cold sober" campus in the country.

Princeton Review ratings, like the flurry of other annual college rankings, change from year to year. Colleges usually take them for what they're worth--embracing the good scores while ignoring the ones they'd prefer to forget.

Ratings are based on student responses to a 70-question survey at 361 colleges and universities. Students were also surveyed on the best dorms (Loyola College in Baltimore), worst food (St. Bonaventure in St. Bonaventure, New York), biggest parties (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and highest percentage of students nostalgic for Bill Clinton (Mills College in Oakland, California), among other categories. …

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