Princeton Review ranks most and least religious schools
A survey listing the nation's most religious colleges revealed some surprises.
August 19th, 2011
11:53 AM ET

Princeton Review ranks most and least religious schools

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Bennington College students recently learned that their Vermont school had received an honor that some might consider dubious: They attend the least religious college in America, according to an annual educational survey.

Bennington’s selection was part of an intriguing national survey listing the Top 5 colleges in the U.S. for most and least religious students.

The survey is part of a larger study conducted by the Princeton Review, a Massachusetts-based educational services company, for its new book, “The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 edition.”

Princeton Review interviewed 122,000 students at 376 top colleges to rate their schools and describe their campus experiences. Some of the categories included: Top colleges for “Most Conservative/Most Liberal Students,” “Best Professors,” and “Great Financial Aid.”

The survey’s questions about religion, though, caught our attention.

The 5 colleges with "most religious students” were: Brigham Young University, which is Mormon, in Utah; Hillsdale College in Michigan; Thomas Aquinas College, a Catholic school in California; Wheaton College, an evangelical school in Illinois; and Grove City College, an evangelical school in Pennsylvania.

The 5 colleges with “least religious students” were: Bennington College; Reed College in Oregon; Bard College in New York; Vassar College and Sarah Lawrence College, both in New York.

Robert Franek, author of "Best 376 Colleges," says the survey’s method for determining a college’s religiosity was simple: The Princeton Review just talked to students.

“We wanted to hear from whom we consider the college experts - current college students,” he says. “Those are the folks who are the real experts.”

Franek says students were asked if they strongly agreed or strongly disagreed that other students on campus were religious. Students were asked to give their answers on a five-point scale. The results were used to tally the book’s ranking lists of the top 5 finishers in each religious category.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Education

soundoff (1,058 Responses)
  1. JON

    this just shows that the world is getting weirder by the day...the pope is right, the world is experiencing amnesia nowadays...people especially in the west tends to have this amnesia coz they believe that they can live without God...they believe that they dont need Him coz, they still able to survive...BUT what they dont realize what these are all temporary...just look at the crisis going on right now...maybe God is still a mystery coz only FAITH can conquer mystery...can anybody out there lead me to any person who can create simply a tree, a true living tree...we know for sure that there are some who can create furnitures out from a tree...im really bothered that the world will end sooner than later...GOD FORBIDS...history just keeps on repeating itself...what a pity for the small children and the coming generation...

    August 23, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Joel

      God isn't real.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • tallulah13

      Jon, feel free to believe what you want. But don't think for a minute that you have any proof.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • RBN1970

      Your explanation that a living tree is proof God exists, just because man hasn't YET figured out how to do it, is the constant idiocy of religion. If the universe is so intricate that it required God to create it, then answer me this: If the complexity of a system can't possibly exist without God to create it, then how does God, even more complex than the universe, exist without an even more super, complex God to have created him. That's where all religions fail. If it’s possible for the complexity of God to exist to create the universe, then obviously the lesser complex system can exist before God. Whenever you claim something cannot exist without God, you conveniently turn your brains off and immediately accept that the most complex system imaginable existed first. And you all seem to be completely unaware of the irony of the contradictions you spew.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  2. N/A

    The devil does exist as I see proof in these posts. The messiah will return and God will judge his people for some will go to heaven and others will burn in hell. Believe brother, don't turn away from God's word.

    August 23, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      The serpent into satan into dragon into well you get the point or don't you? Satan is but a God who receives His Orders not from GOD as it once was but now receives His marching orders directly from the King of the Gods which is non-other than the Lord Christ Jesus!

      August 23, 2011 at 1:50 am |
  3. Jake-NY

    I am a 67 year Grandpa and just sat here and read all the comments on this blog. All I can say is that there must be many parents who are very disappointed that their children or grandchildren have turned away from religion.
    All mainline Protestant Religions are going down in numbers. My religion, the LDS (Mormon) Church is one of the fastest growing
    religions in the world.
    When I went to BYU when it had 10,000 students and it is about 35,000 now. There is a BYU in Rexburg, Idaho and one on the North shore of the island of Oahu in Hawaii.
    We have eight children and lost three over the years. I put my religion to the test like few people have a chance to. I know there is a God, our Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. The Church that was organized by Jesus Christ has been
    restored to the earth.
    This past year we have seen many natural disasters and we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. When we begin to see earthquakes, floods, fire, etc., on nearly a weekly basis, many will wonder if those stories they read in their youth about what
    is going to happen in the last days were true. I know they are true.
    When I went to BYU I didn't have a car and joined a car pool that drove up to Ogden each week-end, where I had lots of
    family. One young man in our group was from the Bay Area in California and not a Mormon. He watched those in high school who were and was impressed how they stood out, were clean cut, didn't smoke or drink and really believed in their religion.
    When it came time to think about a college/university, he checked out BYU and even as a non-member, the cost was low.
    He loved his experience at BYU and found that he enjoyed be around people who were moral, honest and really loved people.
    He asked some tough questions in a religion class and told the professor that he was not a Mormon. He said he was treated
    like someone special in that class and his questions, (some really stupid as he told me) never caused anyone to laugh or wonder
    what his motive was. He simply wanted to know what made a Mormon tick. Long story short, he joined the church in his Senior year and later went on a two year mission for our church.
    We don't have all the answers but we do know that we are all children of Heavenly Father and therefore we are brothers and
    sisters. This short time on earth is only a small portion of our eternal life. Our three children who died were buried in the ground but their spirits went back to heaven. They had completed the important experience of getting a body, just like Jesus Christ did, so they could take part in the resurrection.
    Times ahead are going to get tough and I would hope that many on this blog will take another look at religion and find room for it in your lives. The knowledge you gain on earth will go with you when you graduate from your earth experience, just like when you graduated from college.
    God bless each of you, Jake

    August 23, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Benjamin

      You seem like a nice fellow, but Joseph Smith took caveman mythology and turned it into 18th century lies. The more people turn away from it, the better. There is, after all, a correlation between quality of life and secular nation states.

      August 23, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Just like any other "chris-den-dummy" proclaiming their Faith to be the "Best-dealt-deal" around! Ya'll take to spoken Word of Christ Jesus out of context and have not looked back! Keep on keepin on is the motto of "cris-denned-in-dummies". Go fly your tag upon the moon fer all the goddened dang good it does this world!

      August 23, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Joel

      It is sad that you have lived so long and have not come to the conclusion that there is not now, nor has there ever been, a God.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      @ Joel,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      Who in sam hill then runs these things that are machines inside our bodies,,,,, The Tooth fairy or perhaps the easter bunny,,,, Oh maybe the one's who run our bodies' machines are nothin more then say,,,,,,,,,,,leprechauns,,,,,,,,, Sheese

      August 23, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • someone

      "I am a 67 year Grandpa and just sat here and read all the comments on this blog. All I can say is that there must be many parents who are very disappointed that their children or grandchildren have turned away from religion."

      I am a 67 year-old Grandma who was raised strict Catholic and believed for many years. I raised my 4 children in the faith, although it got more and more difficult over the later years as I began to see the fallacies of the belief, and I began to feel like I was lying and pedaling junk philosophy to them.

      I couldn't be happier that all 4 of them dumped the Church and religion. All 4 are college graduates... happy and upstanding, productive citizens and a joy to the family.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  4. cbr

    What purpose does this serve? Certainly the Princeton Review has more pressing issues. This is considered news. Let's get serious about what a college education should be. Religious activities should just be an option for students.

    August 23, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  5. sinder

    religious american college? isn't that an oxymoron? when i see all the semi-clad cheerleaders making wild gestures, the drunken or gy parties in frats/sororities and larry flint making money off hor ny college girls, i wonder how can there be a 'religious american college'...its like saying 'free taliban women' lol.

    August 23, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  6. Riche

    Northern IL University...this liberal arts campus, just 60 miles west of Chicago, had an extrajudicial neutralization running through one of its remote facilities where the instructors liked to tell students they were spies with guns pointed to their heads for absolutely no reason while the rest of the class just watched with stupid grins..

    All the damage to reputations Poet!!!

    Hu, does this happen in China???

    You should interview them while the entire class still has a memory of it Lisa Madigan...

    August 23, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • diego

      W–T–F ?!?!?!?!?!

      August 23, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • diego

      The doctor wants you to take those pills for a reason, OK?

      August 23, 2011 at 1:42 am |
  7. gods priorities

    Send me to the godless heathen schools any day over Wheaton and Grove city colleges.

    August 23, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Send me to a college/university that teaches and/or has many courses regarding all the historically known Gods and Goddesses! I'll go muff-dining on one of the beautiful Goddesses!!!!!! Oh shucks! I godda be de-ad 1st before they accept my application into heaven where all the goodies are held! 🙂

      August 23, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  8. Reality

    If honesty pervailed: The opening prayer at all State universities (e.g. Penn State, Michigan State, Florida State, Ohio State, :University of California, University of Illinois, University of Alabama, University of Houston, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin) would be:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven???

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    August 23, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • midgick

      Wow Reality,
      You have said something that I/we have and have wanted to say in writing since I was a child. I gather you are not Christian because no one who believes in Christ would be able to say this.
      In writing this, you realize, that in stating this that Jesus was a Jewish equivolent to the 1960's activists and was seen as a trouble maker and pain in the side of both the Jewish and Roman leaders. In those days what you did to a person who incited change amougnst the powers to be you where crucified. Guess what, that's what happened!.

      I will not want to trash someone's beliefs, so let's say that if you are correct, then millions of people have been duped and commited heinous crimes in His name. which is what happened during the Crusades and are happening now with Jihads.

      Now What????

      August 23, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      @ midgick

      "Reality" oh midgick is a "copy & pasties" tasties kinda guy/gal who really knows,,,,,,,,

      August 23, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  9. Hey Suess

    When you really think about it. Faith is absurd. Ask a lawyer or banker if they would run their profession on faith.
    Keep fooling yourself people. Religion is a myth.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • LEM

      Breaking News!!.....even Darwin believes in God now. Unfortunately, he isn't hanging out in the same neighborhood.

      August 23, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'm fairly sure that Darwin always believed in god. However, he never recanted his thoughts on evolution.

      August 23, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Joel

      Darwin did not believe in God. In fact, he stated as much in many of his letters with colleagues. Get your story straight before you lie to the Christians on here. They will believe anything.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  10. Donald Holly

    I for one am a strong believer in the existance of an all powerful supreme being. The maker of all things. I also believe in Mathematics, Physics and the Sciences as the prime movers in the development of our own kind at least in this particular Universe. I don't anything wrong with my reasoning since our corporeal existance and a ubiquitous existance are two entirely unrelated matters.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      @ Donald Holly,,,,,,,,,,, Hi DH,,

      Looking outwardly upon universalisms' blackness is the samething thing as looking inwardly past the veiled molecules to see what has been scientifically gestured to be "atomic" nebulas in an atomically designated Cosmos,,,,,,,, you know their fathers (plural) as being but one celestial universe within untold numbers of celestial universes within the Celestial Cosmos.

      August 23, 2011 at 3:00 am |
  11. Brian

    religion kills, that includes atheism with the rest of them

    August 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • wilson

      Atheism is not a religion so don't even try to lump it in with all the crazies. And prove it to me that Atheists kill like those who believe in an invisible man. Stupid post you made.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Kathleen

      Baloney. Atheism is the absence of religion. Funny how whevenever the godfolk wwant to insult atheism, they try to call it a religion. Even the godfolk know that religion is absurdity.

      August 23, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  12. robcosystems

    There are hundreds of faith-based universities and colleges in America. It's a little riduclous to comapre any of them with any secular university. Naturally, the average population at The Catholic University is more religious than the average population at MIT. A better study might be one comparing faith-based universities with one another, and secular universities (MIT vs Duke, for example) with one another.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  13. Raven

    It would be interesting to note if STD's were inversely proportional to the non religious ratings......

    August 22, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • Sabrina

      Such an extremely ignorant comment if you're insinuating non-religious universities are swarming with STDs. As someone who attends a non-religious university (for the most part) AND a virgin, I find that disrespectful. And there's bound to be more like me.

      August 23, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  14. candice hamm

    religion does not 'dumb' people down....government is to blame for that...

    jesus is my savior, you will find out one day yourself if he is yours or not...dont let foolish pride keep you from eternity...seriously. best wishes and peace to all.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • heliocracy

      I beg to differ. In my experience, very few people know the first thing about government philosophy, and in fact the religious seem to know least of all.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Laughing Skeptic

      Faith is belief without proof or facts and is about as opposite as you can get from Science which is a methodology for proving beliefs. All religions are therefore organizations that willfully participate in the rejection of Science and encourage their adherents to do the same. I can think of few other things more 'dumbing down' than this.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Joel

      I would rather live my life without guilt for things that are not wrong. Sorry. PS. God is a lie. To check out this theory, ask him yourself.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  15. Donald Holly

    Everyone intuitively understands the concept of Ubiquity. The greatest of arguments have come about with the disagreements over how it should be approached.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  16. Donald Holly

    The search for Quantum Reality (the eye of God) has long been underway. Someday when we understand Duality, Ubiquity and Singularity we will be very close to understanding the Wisdom of God. Wisdom is what we should struggle for on all occasions as a person and as a collective kind. Before the Universe existed Wisdom prevailed.......

    August 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Joel

      ^ Idiot.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  17. Donald Holly

    The belief in God (the Ubiquitous being) is not at all an irrational thought process. On the contrary it represents a very sophisticated rational, mathematical argument at least. I do admit though that in my opinion the belief or disbelief in such a being should have no place among the sciences. It should be left in the thought processes which represent numbering and an understanding of the physical world around us (physics).

    August 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  18. BW

    I have a headache.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  19. tnmtl

    the link to this page from the main page looks like a news headline. THIS IS NOT NEWS!!!! Why does CNN present it like it is??? Who the 7734 gives a crap what the most religious schools are in the country?? Personally I would rather go to a shcool that teaches me to be a leader, not to bible thump everyone (and not create stupid blogs on my "news" web site and constantly present it like it's news!!). And whoever leads the country should get there on their merits as a leader, not how many ostentatious public prayers they can give!

    August 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Did you miss the fact that this is the"belief" blog?

      August 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • TaxesAreStealing

      Herbie....In case you weren't paying attention, the main link for this article is listed under the U.S. section on the mainpage. Just like the Ireport crap, you never know where they will direct you until it's too late.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      so, taxes you missed it too!

      August 23, 2011 at 6:03 am |
  20. Donald Holly

    The belief in the state of Ubiquity (the possiblitily of a being which exists as the observer at any point in any space to be had) has been with us since likely the dawn of man. It is an ancient argument embedded in all religions ancient and modern. All too many people have died over the centuries because of it. At best such an argument should belong only to mathematics and not physics or the sciences. Ultimately it is a matter of faith. What one chooses to believe in. Such a belief though should not belong to contemporary physics or science. For the rational mind it should only exist as a mathematical argument if one so chooses.

    August 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      When was the dawn of man,do the math.

      August 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.