Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The College ‘Clean 15' - Looking for a college for your child that isn't a scam? Start here.
The Federalist ^ | 07/23/2015 | Joy Pullmann

Posted on 07/23/2015 1:00:43 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

How would you like your child to graduate high school and enter a four-year career-training program that will have him graduating not just with no debt, but earning $54,000 for the final year of his studies with a guaranteed post-graduation job in a skilled, upward-mobility industry? I’m a mother. That’s not even a question. Neither is it a pipe dream: The Apprentice School for Navy shipbuilders is located in Newport News, Virginia, and has an admissions rate approximating that of Harvard University. For obvious reasons.

Despite the obvious attractions of such arrangements, and our historic dedication to the apprenticeship system (which, among other greats, molded our Benjamin Franklin), the United States has few such apprenticeship opportunities now. There are many reasons for this, among which I’d tag huge entry barriers such as minimum wage and minimum working-age laws (it costs Apprentice School sponsors $270,000 per apprentice), but a central one is certainly culture. Many Americans, including our political leaders from both parties, now cruelly and falsely insist that a college degree is a non-negotiable ticket to a middle-class life.

As Mike Petters, CEO of Huntington Ingalls, which owns the school, told The New York Times: “If you’re in the two-thirds of Americans that don’t have a college degree, how do you feel if someone says to be a success, you have to have it? It shouldn’t be a requirement for middle-class life. We have people in our organization who don’t and are great, who’ve raised families and had great lives.”

Our country is substituting for the nobility of honest work that anyone can aspire to a false nobility of credentialing that requires permission-checking from elites to obtain. One might recognize this as a distinctly authoritarian and inegaltarian view. In America, we don’t have royalty, and we used to look askance at people here who clothed themselves in its trappings. Now, we treat the credentialed as royalty, and my guess it’s because our pervasive progressivism teaches people to revere the “expert” and trust him to run their lives instead of stepping up to run our own ourselves. One way for people to re-assert their self-government is to honestly assess whether hopping on the college bandwagon is a genuinely good choice for them.

If You Must Go to College, Pick a Good One

That’s my opening caveat and caution to readers who choose to go further. Don’t take what I’m about to say as a suggestion that everyone go to college. It’s not. Every American deserves a quality K-12 education that negates the need to backfill with the liberal arts at the collegiate level. Almost nobody gets that, though, and while college isn’t for everyone that doesn’t mean no one should do it. So I present a list of good colleges for those who are suited to the pursuit. I’ll include some criteria on suitability later.

The Federalist readers generated a rather overwhelming response to my article last week about how more parents are discovering that college is a scam. Most asked about this portion:

True, my husband and I received a truly excellent education in college that was worth far more money or words can express. To my parents and scholarship donors (and even my husband’s college-loan originators) I am forever grateful. But the kind of real education I received at Hillsdale is increasingly rare, to the point that I recommend only about a dozen U.S. colleges to people looking for the real deal.

Of course, folks wanted to know the list of colleges I recommend. So it’s down at the bottom of this article. I’m calling it the “clean college 15″ in reference to those Pinterest lists of fruits and veggies that are supposedly safe to buy non-organic because they don’t pick up pesticides as easily as others.


Before we get to the clean college 15, however, some notes and caveats.

My college list is not exhaustive. It is based on working for three years as a junior apprentice in Hillsdale College’s admissions office while a student there, reviewing academic records of applicants and performing other menial tasks, but these are all my own takeaways from that experience and reflect nothing whatsoever about Hillsdale’s policies or practices. It is also based on reviewing college resumes from some of the nation’s top colleges for interns and entry-level positions in several of my post-graduate jobs, in discussing undergraduate experiences with cross-country friends, and visiting dozens of campuses for collegiate debate and post-college speaking opportunities. Lastly, it’s based on helping friends and siblings and children of friends in their college search and application process, and in following the education world closely for four years (and counting) working as an education point-person at The Heartland Institute, a think tank.

There are certainly some good schools that are not on my list. I name the schools I know.

So I have had a lot more interaction with the higher-education world than most, but certainly not as in-depth as a college or high-school counselor. This means there are certainly some good schools that are not on my list. I name the schools I know.

For further reading and reviews of all these individual schools and several hundred more, I recommend a truly exhaustive reference book from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, “Choosing the Right College.” Thomas Sowell recommends it, so you know it’s good.

They not only include a guide to what college is for and how to evaluate one, but a review of several hundred institutions with specific professor and curriculum recommendations for achieving a genuine core at each school, whether the institution offers that specifically or not (if they don’t offer such a thing, that’s a big red flag, by the way, and the book will explain why). I would rather pick an institution where the quality and philosophical unity is more guaranteed and cohesive, but if for whatever reason your kids go to another place I would use that guide fervently.

My Clean College 15 List

The suitability of each particular college to a certain child will of course depend on that child’s particular academic interests and career inclinations. While a good broad liberal arts school will prepare a child for any pursuit, it’s just truth that some have stronger programs than others. Hillsdale’s math and physics departments, for example, were pretty sparse when my husband was a physics major as an undergraduate. I hear they’ve beefed up since, but it merits close inspection for those interested in that field. That experience applies to all these schools, as well, which will of course have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Ave Maria University
Baylor University’s great books program
The Torrey Honors program at Biola University
Cedarville University (if one must have teaching or other technical degree, Cedarville has some good programs)
The University of Dallas
Grove City College
Gutenberg College
Hillsdale College
Houston Baptist University
New Saint Andrews College
Patrick Henry College
Pepperdine University
St. John’s College (both campuses)
Wheaton College (with a caveat that it seems to be tilting quite Left in some departments)

You will note this list has only fourteen on it. Alas, I can’t falsely pad to fit the “clean 15″ moniker, but the ISI book and parent gossip will generate other potential schools for you or your child. I would also send my child to a nearby state university if the goal were just to get a technical degree or some other performance of credential box-checking. But if we could afford it, and the child was academically inclined, I would go with a liberal arts degree first and the nursing or engineering degree afterwards as a master’s program. I don’t have the space here to explain why a genuine liberal arts degree is worth it for those to whom it’s suited, but suffice it to say I’m firmly in that camp.

Some Guidance About College Suitability

Speaking of affording college, my rule of thumb is that unless you are independently wealthy (meaning you can pay for your child to deserve Cs and Ds on genuine college-level work), if your child does not have high enough test scores or other features that will net him some merit or other scholarships (National Merit Scholarship, musical or artistic skill, etc.), your child probably isn’t a good fit for genuine college work. At a quality institution, this generally demands an ACT score of at least 27 or higher (the SAT equivalent is 1800-1850). I’d bend the rule a bit down to a 26 or 25 if the child shows other evidence of pointyheadedness or doesn’t test well.

Remember, average or close to it is not college-level, no matter what the loan-pushers tell you.

The national ACT average is about 21, and the national SAT average is about 1500 (500 in each subject). Remember, average or close to it is not college-level, no matter what the loan-pushers tell you. Students at this range of academic ability are perfectly lovely people who will contribute to society beautifully. They just aren’t the bean-counting type, for whom reading five hours a day sounds like fun. And that’s what a real college will make students do.

Have mercy on those kids and don’t demand that they attend a college that deserves the name where they will be miserable for four years doing things that don’t absorb their attention and therefore can’t pay off for the rest of life. Different strokes for different folks. Putting people through motions fit for other people is mean and counterproductive, no matter what the college preachers with self-serving motives (votes, more tuition income) tell you. The people who skip college for other opportunities can laugh at their college-degreed compatriots who are earning $28,000 teaching English and scrambling to divest themselves of student debt while they pay off a house in three years with their $54,000 post-apprenticeship starting salary.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education; Society
KEYWORDS: college; colleges; education
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-29 next last

1 posted on 07/23/2015 1:00:43 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Unfortunately Baylor University, a Baptist University, has compromised its Christian principles in the altar of political correctness.


Baylor University drops ‘homosexual acts’ from conduct rules

2 posted on 07/23/2015 1:02:22 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind
Baylor is still #20 on this list of colleges with the most conservative students for now. I think actually keeps a list of best colleges for conservatives so some of the smaller enrollment options also get attention
3 posted on 07/23/2015 1:09:05 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

I would also suggest any one of the state merchant marine academies: Maine Maritime, Texas Maritime, New York Maritime, Massachusetts Maritime, California Maritime, and the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. All but the Great Lakes offer a four year degree in marine transportation operations or marine engineering as well as other majors. They are no nonsense colleges and all involve working on commercial merchant ship as a cadet for at least 60 days and training on a training ship as well.
The starting salaries for deck officers and marine engineers is anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000 per year.
Usually one works 7 days a week for a month on month off rotation or two months on and two months off. Room and board is provided and is tax free.
Maine Maritime Academy was just named the #1 public college in the US for the second year running by MONEY magazine.

4 posted on 07/23/2015 1:09:23 PM PDT by Maine Mariner
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Sexual acts (of any kind) are still forbidden.

5 posted on 07/23/2015 1:12:31 PM PDT by TexasGunLover ("Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists."-- President George W. Bush)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Trade schools are still a good option without the cost.

6 posted on 07/23/2015 1:13:50 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Sad fact, most people just want a candidate to tell them what they want to hear)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TexasGunLover
Sexual acts (of any kind) Outside of Marriage are still forbidden.

Fixed it.

7 posted on 07/23/2015 1:18:53 PM PDT by DannyTN
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind


8 posted on 07/23/2015 1:31:18 PM PDT by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

I lived in Hillsdale, Michigan for a time. Never realized that the college there was such a hotbed of Conservatism.

Isn’t Ave Maria a relatively new school started by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan?

9 posted on 07/23/2015 1:31:38 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

I think Baylor has capitulated to the left recently too

10 posted on 07/23/2015 1:33:36 PM PDT by GeronL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Being catholic doesn’t insure anything anymore

What about Lipscomb or Harding or Tennessee Tech

11 posted on 07/23/2015 1:34:50 PM PDT by wardaddy (Mark Levin.....I love him...but he is ignorant of Dixie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog

The same Dominoes Pissa that celebrated the gay marriage ruling?

12 posted on 07/23/2015 1:34:51 PM PDT by GeronL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Vigilanteman

Most southern and truly western schools have student bodies similar to the parents

But the teachers

Regardless most kids today are socially far more liberal

It’s been that way in increments since WWII

13 posted on 07/23/2015 1:37:24 PM PDT by wardaddy (Mark Levin.....I love him...but he is ignorant of Dixie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

In far too many colleges the fanatic left rules. Free speech is forbidden. Several even demanded that Chick-fil-A be removed from campus and it was.

14 posted on 07/23/2015 1:37:50 PM PDT by Jane Austen (Recall Gov. Nikki Haley, aka Nimrata Randhawa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

Monaghan has not been in control of Domino’s Pizza for some time. Back in the early 90’s he had some sort of Catholic religious epiphany, stopped work on a massive new home he was building, sold the Detroit Tigers to Mike Ilitch, and went off to start this university. Had he been running the show I’m sure Domino’s would not have done that and would have been subjected to the Truett Cathy treatment.

15 posted on 07/23/2015 1:40:20 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
1) Tom Monaghan sold Domino's Pizza in the late 1990s.

2) Please provide any evidence for Domino's Pizza celebrating the sodomite union ruling. I find nothing in a simple search engine request. I do, however, find several sodomite websites (salon dot c*m, for example) condemning them as "anti-gay".

16 posted on 07/23/2015 1:40:39 PM PDT by NorthMountain ("The time has come", the Walrus said, "to talk of many things")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog; GeronL
See #16.

GeronL needs to back up or retract his assertion.

17 posted on 07/23/2015 1:42:15 PM PDT by NorthMountain ("The time has come", the Walrus said, "to talk of many things")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Maine Mariner

Webb Institute:

“Ever wondered what goes into designing an America’s Cup yacht, U.S. Navy destroyer, or a cruise liner? Webb Institute is a four-year, fully accredited engineering college that has specialized in naval architecture and marine engineering for the last 125 years. Founded in 1889 by prominent New York shipbuilder William H. Webb, the Institute has produced the nation’s leading ship designers for over a century. Every Webb student receives a full-tuition scholarship founded by Mr. Webb and continued by the generous contributions of alumni/ae, friends of Webb, parents, corporations, and foundations.”

Academic requirements for admission are challenging and the curriculum jumps right into the engineering, no fluff. You only pay for living expenses.

18 posted on 07/23/2015 1:59:00 PM PDT by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

A few more to add to the list:

College of the Ozarks
Gordon College
Concordia University / Wisconsin

We visited all of these when son #1 was doing visits.

19 posted on 07/23/2015 2:00:44 PM PDT by libertymaker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: libertymaker

and as far as the ones that ARE a scam, start here.

Near as I can tell it’s an out-and-out immigration scam. Foreign students come here, enroll in some pointless Masters program, graduate with an F1 OPT temporary work visa, repeat as necessary.

20 posted on 07/23/2015 2:25:18 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-29 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson