Tuesday, September 20, 2005
It takes longer to change the course of an ocean liner than it does a rowboat but perhaps there is a ray of hope in the news that more conservative and Christian students with outstanding high school records are heading for a new kind of elite college rather than the Ivy League.
posted by Mark Butterworth |
More students are drawn to conservative colleges
Enrollment is up at smaller colleges with Christian values. Some think students hope it will launch political careers.
By Adam Karlin | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
Catherine Shultis, a National Merit Scholar with a perfect SAT score, is a natural for the hallowed halls of academia: Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown. But last month, she began her freshman year at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
Why Steubenville instead of Cambridge, Mass., or New York? The East Coast elite universities "lack a grounding in the Christian faith, and they're turning away from core principles and becoming more and more liberal," she says.
"Schools like Grove City, Brigham Young, and Hillsdale are some of our more popular schools," says Elizabeth Williams, intern coordinator for the conservative Heritage Foundation, in an e-mail. "Their students are usually of very high caliber."
But enrollment at several conservative Christian schools is on the upswing. For example: Patrick Henry College in Virginia, whose mission is to "prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values," first opened its doors in 2000 to 87 students. This year, enrollment stands at 330, and the median SAT score for its freshmen has also jumped, from 1170 to 1340 in the same period.
At Franciscan, Ms. Shultis's new school, where a fledgling group of Democrats disbanded because of lack of interest, enrollment has topped 2,000, up 220 in the past four years. Average grade-point scores of incoming freshmen have also risen.