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Posted on 01/17/2009 11:30:52 AM PST by SeekAndFind

2008-2009 Top Ten Conservative Colleges

January 2009

Young America’s Foundation is pleased to release our fifth annual “Top Ten Conservative College” list in response to the frequently asked question of which schools we recommend to those seeking conservative colleges.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of students begin their college search. Admission guides, seminars, advice from friends, and help from advisors all offer different perspectives. Presented with so many options, confusion often clouds this important decision-making process. Given the requests for Young America’s Foundation’s recommendations, and to aid in making the right decision, we are proud to release our fifth annual “Top Ten Conservative Colleges” list.

A wide variety of rankings exist for the market of American colleges and universities. Each year, U.S. News & World Report releases its “America’s Best Colleges” edition. The magazine grades each institution based on factors including peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, and student selectivity. Yet, U.S. News does not rank the overall experience that colleges offer. That is why Young America’s Foundation presents the following list of ten institutions that offer a conservative experience for students. Young America’s Foundation deemed these ten institutions the best, and they are listed in alphabetical order. We are also pleased to list additional colleges we feel deserve honorable mention.

Many conservative students seek alternatives in higher education, but they may not be fully aware of institutions that fit these criteria. The 2008-2009 “Top Ten Conservative College” list features institutions that proclaim, through their mission and programs, a dedication to discovering, maintaining, and strengthening the conservative values of their students.

The colleges offer an alternative to the liberal status quo, because they allow and encourage conservative students to explore conservative ideas and authors. They offer coursework and scholarship in conservative thought and emphasize principles including smaller government, strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values. Furthermore, they avoid trends in academe by continuing to study Western Civilization instead of straying toward the study of Marxism, feminism, sexuality, postmodernism, and other distractions that do not give students a complete understanding of our country, our culture, and its founding principles.

Young America’s Foundation highly recommends service academies such as West Point and Annapolis for people interested in serving their country and receiving a top-notch education. However, these schools do not appear in the top ten. They are not liberal arts colleges but rather military colleges that follow a training model for future officers. There is nothing more honorable than serving our country, and we strongly encourage qualified students to consider this option.

This is not an exhaustive list of conservative institutions and should not be taken as such. Nor should it be the only source consulted in a college search. Young America’s Foundation recommends that this list serve as a starting point. Parents and students should seek several information sources, read admissions materials thoroughly, consult with friends and counselors, and make visits. Additionally, Young America’s Foundation is not a college rating organization; we decided to publish this list to help address a frequently asked question.

If you have another college you think should be on this list, please contact us. For more information, please contact the listed colleges, or call Young America’s Foundation at 800-USA-1776 or visit our website at


Christendom College Front Royal, Virginia

Christendom College in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is a Catholic college with more than 400 undergraduates. Six majors and a master’s degree in theological studies are offered. All undergraduate programs begin with a core curriculum that includes study of Catholic doctrine, as well as philosophy, mathematics, and science.

The college was founded in 1977 by a group of Catholics concerned with the direction of higher education, especially within the Catholic church. “Only an education which integrates the truths of the Catholic faith throughout the curriculum is a fully Catholic education,” stated the founders. Led by Dr. Warren H. Carroll, the visionaries also envisioned how, “the only rightful purpose of education is to know the truth and to live by it. The purpose of Catholic education is therefore to learn and to live by the truth revealed by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”

The original vision of Christendom lives today through the institution’s devotion to Catholic theology and way of life. The core curriculum reinforces a Catholic worldview and teaches students to “distinguish truth from error or distortion, and then to communicate truth accurately, effectively, and convincingly to others.” Required courses include “Literature of Western Civilization,” “Introduction to Philosophy,” and “Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine.”

For more information, contact Christendom College:

Christendom College Admissions 134 Christendom Drive Front Royal, Virginia 22630 (800) 877-5456


College of the Ozarks Point Lookout, Missouri

The College of the Ozarks is a unique Christian college with about 1,400 students, located in Point Lookout, Missouri. Dubbed as “Hard Work U.” by The Wall Street Journal, it has a special work-study program in which students work in lieu of paying tuition.

In addition to the 34 majors, 38 minors, and eight pre-professional programs it offers, the College of the Ozarks has an extensive character education program. As soon as students arrive for freshman orientation, they begin character education programs and abide by a dress code and an honor code.

A core liberal arts curriculum is required of all students and an optional character-based curriculum is available but not required. The general education curriculum is “purposefully complemented by an emphasis on the development of vital competencies,” such as writing, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary connections. Overall, the College of the Ozarks offers a robust array of programs and excellent opportunities to receive a well-rounded education.

One of the most distinctive features of the College of the Ozarks is the work-study program. All students work 15 hours per week instead of paying tuition. Many students find interesting jobs at the college such as working at the college’s own restaurant & lodge, in the print shop, as a campus landscaper, or on the farm. Two 40-hour weeks are also required during longer breaks, including Christmas or Easter.

For more information, contact College of the Ozarks:

College of the Ozarks Admissions P.O. Box 17 Point Lookout, Missouri 65726 (800) 222-0525


Franciscan University of Steubenville Steubenville, Ohio

Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio is a dynamic Catholic university with 2,049 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students. Majors are available in 36 undergraduate subjects, and the college offers 33 undergraduate minors and seven graduate programs. As a devoutly Catholic institution, Franciscan lives by a conservative intellectual and social philosophy based on the strong liberal arts tradition and the teachings of the Catholic church.

Many of Franciscan’s programs are devoted to obtaining a deeper knowledge of the history, philosophy, and culture that shaped Western Civilization. For example, the university offers five specific programs in which students learn directly about Western Civilization and the role of the Catholic church in its formation. Franciscan also offers an honors program devoted to great books of the Western world.

Many faculty members have distinguished themselves in conservative scholarship. Political science professor Dr. Stephen Krason penned books about the founding fathers and the Constitution. Legal Studies program director Brian Scharnecchia authored a three-volume work outlining and advocating a conservative approach to family issues. The University sponsors the nation’s only human life studies minor, which teaches students to think, speak, and act intelligently on human life issues. Using reason and logic, the newly-established Institute of Bioethics at Franciscan University sponsors forums and provides advanced training for students on abortion, euthanasia, the institution of marriage and other issues that impact society.

Campus life at Franciscan is different than most colleges. Many students choose to live in a “household,” a mix between a fraternity and a faith-sharing group. Through sports, Bible study, prayer, and other social activities, households provide an essential bonding experience that parallels the mission of the university. A large portion of the student body’s free time is spent serving the community and attending Mass held on campus.

A factor that distinguishes Franciscan is the student body’s devotion to activism on traditional religious values. Public policy, civic participation, and conservative activism groups remain popular among students.

For more information, contact Franciscan University: Franciscan University Admissions 1235 University Boulevard Steubenville, Ohio 43952 (800) 783-6220


Grove City College Grove City, Pennsylvania

Grove City College is a Christian college located north of Pittsburgh with 2,500 students. It offers 55 undergraduate majors. Its mission is to offer a rigorous academic education in a thoroughly Christian environment at an affordable cost.

As a liberal arts institution, its web site also states: “Rejecting relativism and secularism, [Grove City College] fosters intellectual, moral, spiritual, and social development consistent with a commitment to Christian truth, morals, and freedom.” The atmosphere created at Grove City College through its policies and programs encourages “the spiritual, moral, intellectual, and character development” of its students and staff. Grove City has a commitment to conservative scholarship in various fields. For example, Dr. Paul Kengor (political science) has written several best-selling books and is an expert in the American presidency. Dr. Tracy Miller (economics) is an expert on international economics who has written on the subject. Many of Ludwig von Mises’ papers are housed and researched at the College. In addition, Grove City boasts a strong department of religion and a major in entrepreneurship. Engineering, education and business round out the most popular majors. Additionally, the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College is a think tank offering annual conferences, noted speakers and a chance for faculty members to share their editorials in media outlets around the country.

Given its legal and financial independence from the federal government, Grove City College’s tuition fees are surprisingly low. Annual tuition is about half the national average, thanks to the college’s fiduciary responsibility and private loan program. As a result, Grove City has been called a “best value” time and time again.

For more information, contact Grove City College: Grove City College 100 Campus Drive Grove City, Pennsylvania 16127 (724) 458-2100


Harding University Searcy, Arkansas

Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas is a robust Christian college with 6,500 students. Ninety majors, thirteen pre-professional programs, and twelve graduate and professional degrees encompass the academic offerings. As the largest private university in Arkansas, Harding offers a well-rounded intellectual experience in a Biblical context. The Honors College also offers in-depth and supplementary study for accelerated students.

Majors from all programs are required to fulfill liberal arts requirements that include seven categories: spiritual and moral values, communications and critical thinking, the individual and social environment, the natural world, the creative spirit, the historical perspective, and global literacy. A moral code signed by all students creates an atmosphere where everyone is held to high standards.

Each year, Harding students participate in a variety of programs from the American Studies Institute, including the Distinguished Lecture Series. Young America’s Foundation is proud to co-sponsor several lectures each year that expose students to conservative ideas. Past speakers include Margaret Thatcher, John Ashcroft, William F. Buckley Jr., Sean Hannity, Zell Miller, Lech Walesa, and J.C. Watts.

Harding’s American Studies Institute puts a strong emphasis on its entrepreneurial development programs. For example, the Belden Center for Private Enterprise Education, led by noted scholar Dr. Don Diffine, educates students on the importance of freedom and private enterprise in relation to the success of business.

For more information, contact Harding University: Harding University Admissions 915 E. Market Street Searcy, Arkansas 72143 (501) 279-4000


Hillsdale College Hillsdale, Michigan

Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan is a liberal arts college with 1,300 students. Offering 34 traditional majors, eight interdisciplinary majors, and nine pre-professional programs, Hillsdale consistently ranks highly nationwide in U.S. News & World Report, among other publications. Its core curriculum exemplifies the tradition of a classic liberal arts program. All students, regardless of major, are required to take courses in humanities, natural science, and social science during their first two years. Highly respected conservative professors teach at Hillsdale including Dr. Burt Folsom (history), Dr. Ivan Pongracic (economics), and Dr. Mickey Craig (political science).

Students at this southern Michigan campus hear from one of the largest and most distinguished lecture programs in the country. Hillsdale’s Center for Constructive Alternatives (CCA) has sponsored more than 1,100 speakers since 1971, including conservative luminaries such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Walter Williams. Students are required to attend two hours of CCA seminars in order to graduate.

Independence is an important theme at Hillsdale. Upon its founding in 1844, it was the nation’s first college to prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, or religion in its charter. Ever since, the institution has not taken a penny from the federal government. When some students received federal loans in the 1970s, Hillsdale quickly reacted by maintaining independence and rejecting government quotas. Even given the absence of government funding, Hillsdale remains a great value because it continually provides privately funded financial aid packages.

Hillsdale provides students with a well-rounded education that focuses on liberty. Students learn what liberty means and the moral conditions of its preservation. They develop the skills to be productive citizens and the character to be good ones. The mission statement sums up the college well. It reads: “The College considers itself a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.”

For more information, contact Hillsdale College: Hillsdale College Admissions 33 East College Street Hillsdale, Michigan 49242 (517) 607-2327


Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, Indiana

Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered academic community located in Marion, Indiana. As Indiana’s largest private university in total enrollment, it boasts approximately 15,400 students. Despite record enrollment, IWU has been able to maintain a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio for the 3,200 students on the main campus in Marion. Among the members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, the main organization of Evangelical schools of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, IWU has become its largest member with the Marion campus and at regional sites throughout Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

The bachelor’s degree curriculum at IWU is centered on a core of several requirements, including studies in Biblical literature and world civilization. The university is also home to several prominent scholars in conservative and libertarian thought. IWU faculty members have terminal degrees from institutions as prestigious as Oxford University, Pepperdine University, University of Michigan, Virginia Law School, University of Texas-Austin, University of Chicago, The Ohio State University, and Indiana University.

Academic Convocation speakers have included Attorney General Ed Meese, M. Stanton Evans, and Dr. James Dobson. Noted authors highlighted in the curriculum include Friedman, Toqueville, Bastiat, Hayek, and a course that discusses Ronald Reagan’s autobiography, An American Life. In addition, the university has worked with student organizers to bring in Young America’s Foundation speakers including Dinesh D’Souza, Star Parker, and Oliver North.

Lifestyle expectations at IWU promote a Christian atmosphere on campus. The primary values center on “Christ likeness,” and include commitment, learning, serving, and stewardship. IWU is defined by producing “world changers” through an “integrated experience of intellectual challenge, spiritual growth, and leadership development.” All first-year students take a course called “Becoming World Changers,” which provides a common experience that directs students toward fulfillment of IWU’s mission.

For more information, contact Indiana Wesleyan University: Indiana Wesleyan University Admissions 4201 South Washington Street Marion, Indiana 46953 (866) 468-6498


Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University, founded in 1971 by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and is the largest evangelical university in the world with more than 40,000 students enrolled in residential and online programs. Total enrollment for the 2008-2009 school year is expected to top out at 50,000. The chancellor of Liberty University is Jerry Falwell, Jr.

The mission of Liberty University is, “to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact tomorrow’s world.” A common motto of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell for Liberty University was, “If it’s Christian it should be better.”

In turn, Liberty offers 56 majors and 33 minors, as well as 92 graduate programs. Notable schools include the Liberty University School of Law, the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Jesse Helms School of Government.

Liberty University students are known for their theologically, socially, and fiscally conservative views on issues like “…an absolute repudiation of ‘political correctness,’ a strong commitment to political conservatism, total rejection of socialism, and firm support for America’s economic system of free enterprise,” among other things. This was recently evidenced during the 2008 presidential election, where more than 80% of the Liberty University student body was registered to vote, the university closed for election day, bussed students to the polling places, and garnered international media attention (including a front page article in the Washington Post) for their trendsetting civic involvement.

Liberty’s faculty is committed to the universities Christian worldview and to furthering the mission of the University, and each faculty member begins their classes in prayer and adheres to the university doctrinal statement.

The Christian experience at Liberty does not stop with the classroom. Dormitories are supervised by a small army of “student leaders” who work to maintain the spiritual and social health of the halls. Liberty mentors one student leader for every five residential students, assuring that no single student is left without adequate social, spiritual, and academic support.

The thrice-weekly, university-wide chapel service plays hosts to 60 national leaders each school year. It is considered to be a required stop on the national, conservative campaign trail.

The university has gathered dozens of “Big South Conference Championships” through the 17 NCAA Division 1 sports offered at Liberty, has a national champion debate team, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs, and hosts numerous special conferences devoted to Biblical and contemporary issues.

Liberty University Online is considered among the nation’s most respected, collegiate Distance Learning Programs ( Liberty University also offers a residential and online K-12 program via Liberty Christian Academy and Liberty University Online Academy (

For more information, contact Liberty University: Liberty University Admissions 1971 University Boulevard Lynchburg, Virginia 24502 (434) 582-2000


St. Vincent College Latrobe, Pennsylvania

St. Vincent College is a traditional Catholic college in rural Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh. With almost 1,700 students, it offers a comprehensive liberal arts program in the Benedictine tradition.

Archabbot Wimmer, the founder of St. Vincent College, noted that students should learn “first what is necessary, then what is useful, and finally what is beautiful and will contribute to their refinement.” The college continues that vision with a strong core curriculum promoting hard work and the study of philosophy. In addition, St. Vincent boasts a strong writing program and is committed to theology, mathematics, and the natural sciences in the core curriculum.

The student life at St. Vincent is unique given its proximity to the monastery and influence of the Benedictine community. The college is committed to service learning and volunteering. Everyone in the first-year class participates in an orientation community service event. There is a very active campus ministry, and President Jim Towey takes a service group of 12 students each year to serve in Mother Theresa’s mission in Calcutta.

The Alex G. McKenna School of Economics and Government highlights conservative ideas through its programs including the Center for Political and Economic Thought, where internationally recognized guests interact with students and faculty through lectures and events. A focus on philosophy and principles instead of current events and polling data, especially in political science, allows students to learn more deeply about the importance of Western civilization.

For more information, please contact St. Vincent College:

St. Vincent College Admissions 300 Fraser Purchase Road Latrobe, Pennsylvania 15650 (724) 537-4540


Thomas Aquinas College Santa Paula, California

Thomas Aquinas College is a small Catholic college located in southern California with 351 students. No majors or minors are offered since all students participate in the prescribed great books curriculum. The somewhat secluded location in the hills of rural southern California provides a metaphor for the unique nature of this fine institution.

The “great books” of Western civilization comprise the entire curriculum of Thomas Aquinas College, and all students graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. Works on many subjects are included in the program, including music, mathematics, and science as well as philosophy, language, and theology. Faculty members serve less as lecturers and more as facilitators using the Socratic method. Catholic faculty members publicly take the Oath of Fidelity and make a Profession of Faith at the beginning of their terms in office.

Campus life at Thomas Aquinas follows with traditional Catholic morality and teaching, and there are many groups in which students participate. For example, the St. Genesius Players is a drama group that puts on productions, the choir often performs, and the “bushwhackers” maintain local trails and organize hiking trips. Student groups are also involved with activism on issues related to traditional religious values.

For more information, please contact Thomas Aquinas College:

Thomas Aquinas College Admissions 10000 North Ojai Road Santa Paula, California 93060 (800) 634-9797


Honorable mentions:

Brigham Young University

Patrick Henry College

Regent University

The King’s College

Thomas More College

TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: byu; catholicschools; christendom; colleges; conservative; grovecity; highereducation; libertyu; phu; regentu; topten; yaf; youngamericas
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1 posted on 01/17/2009 11:30:52 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

There are 10 conservative colleges? Who knew?

2 posted on 01/17/2009 11:36:28 AM PST by tvdog12345
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To: SeekAndFind

Apparently the various military academies aren’t considered conservative.

3 posted on 01/17/2009 11:38:45 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: SeekAndFind

According to this list, if a student wishes to study a hard science, he should not choose one of these schools.

4 posted on 01/17/2009 11:45:23 AM PST by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at I00 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
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To: DuncanWaring

They (along with The Citidal) are generally not categorized with the regular university system in rankings because of admission requirements.

5 posted on 01/17/2009 11:45:32 AM PST by mnehring
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To: trumandogz

Letourneau University here in town was rated one of the top engineering schools in the country (top 3 I believe) and is very Conservative.

6 posted on 01/17/2009 11:46:36 AM PST by mnehring
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To: SeekAndFind

“Christian” colleges with liberal arts programs will not suffice for us. We need solid science without the politics and theological lecturing. Doesn’t seem to be anywhere.

And the kid has had enough with Catholic schools after six miserable years in a parochial school. Couldn’t get him into a church now except at gunpoint, and that kind of defeats the purpose. He’ll have to go back to church on his own.

7 posted on 01/17/2009 11:46:46 AM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS OUR PRESIDENT!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I was aware of Liberty University but not the others. The one that I’m interested is Regent Law School.

8 posted on 01/17/2009 11:46:57 AM PST by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: DuncanWaring; SeekAndFind
I would have thought that The Citadel and VMI would be on the list. Given the religious orientation, they may mean socially conservative rather than politically conservative.
9 posted on 01/17/2009 11:47:03 AM PST by PAR35
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To: tvdog12345
There are 10 conservative colleges? Who knew?

It does not amount to much. 71,200 students. And one to the colleges it appears does not even grant a degree.

I think Ohio state alone has that many students.

10 posted on 01/17/2009 11:48:10 AM PST by Pontiac (Your message here.)
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To: SeekAndFind

And while I’m at it - what about Bob Jones University. I know that they have gotten more liberal (a couple can hold hands if they are engaged), but they ought to be in the running.

11 posted on 01/17/2009 11:49:47 AM PST by PAR35
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To: SeekAndFind

No mention of St. John’s?,_U.S.

12 posted on 01/17/2009 11:50:42 AM PST by proxy_user
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To: mnehrling
Letourneau University here in town was rated one of the top engineering schools in the country (top 3 I believe)...

Wow, that is impressive. Since Letourneau is one of the three best engineering schools in the country it must be even better than all but two of these schools.



UC Berkeley



UT Austin

Carnegie Mellon


Texas A&M




So, what is your source that states that Letourneau has a better engineering program than all but two of the above listed schools?

13 posted on 01/17/2009 11:59:17 AM PST by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at I00 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
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To: SeekAndFind

It seems this list is heavily weighted to Catholic schools.

Here are two Christian based schools not on list, but well regarded.

Biola University, La Mirada, California

Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, California

14 posted on 01/17/2009 11:59:58 AM PST by truth_seeker
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To: SeekAndFind
Say what you will, but the University of Chicago (where yours truly attended Grad school) is still far superior to any of these schools in terms of intellectual rigor and having to actually DEFEND your arguments, rather than being susceptible to group think of the left or right.

Granted, Maroonville almost went to hell under the Sonnenschien regime, and yes, Obama taught there, but it is still for my money (literally) the best university in the United States.

15 posted on 01/17/2009 11:59:58 AM PST by Clemenza (Red is the Color of Virility, Blue is the Color of Impotence)
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To: trumandogz
I had no idea that Tiger U (which is but three miles from where I live) had such a great engineering program. Most of the Princetonians I have known in my life were in the social sciences or the physical sciences, but the engineering department never came up in conversation.

My BIL can vouch for Carnegie Mellon, as he got an MS/MBA there not too long ago. Still one of the top schools for engineering worldwide, especially for mechanical engineering.

16 posted on 01/17/2009 12:03:06 PM PST by Clemenza (Red is the Color of Virility, Blue is the Color of Impotence)
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To: Clemenza

Princeton is in the top 20 of engineering, but the men of the Ivy League can only dream of being admitted to Letourneau.

17 posted on 01/17/2009 12:08:54 PM PST by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at I00 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
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To: tvdog12345

The reason nobody knows about these schools is because the liberal media black them out.

The ONLY time they are reported about is when something bad happens.

18 posted on 01/17/2009 12:09:17 PM PST by kjo
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To: trumandogz

US News and World Report top Colleges of rankings:

19 posted on 01/17/2009 12:10:58 PM PST by mnehring
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To: mnehrling
Letourneau University here in town was rated one of the top engineering schools in the country (top 3 I believe) and is very Conservative.

It's a solid undergraduate program. There are hundreds of similar 2nd / 3rd tier engineering programs across the country.

"Top Three"? Puleeeeeeez, it won't even rank top three within 100 miles radius of Houston - Rice, A&M, UH all easily beat it, even Lamar probably has a better engineering program.

20 posted on 01/17/2009 12:11:08 PM PST by Republican Party Reptile
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