News and Publications

CCCU Schools Score High in Annual College Rankings

October 3, 2017

WASHINGTON – As a mark of the level of excellence of Christian higher education in the United States, seven of the CCCU’s schools have been recognized out of more than 1,000 schools across the country in two areas of key distinction and pride for Christian higher education: student engagement and peer inspiration.

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education’s top U.S. college rankings lists for 2018 named Dordt College first – among all U.S. universities – where students feel the most engagement. (See the full list below.)

The Journal defined student engagement as “measured by the breadth of academic options it offers and student insights on things such as whether they feel challenged in the classroom and would recommend the school to others.” Student engagement is an important measure for the Journal; it accounts for 20 percent of a school’s overall national ranking.

In addition to Dordt, Baylor University, California Baptist University, Harding University, and Oral Roberts University also made the list. While CCCU institutions accounted for only 13 percent of public and private universities surveyed across the country, they accounted for 31 percent of the Journal’s list of 16 top schools in the category, which included institutions like Brown University, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Southern California.

“When you select a college, you are actually purchasing two things: the faculty experience, and the peers you are going to study and interact with,” says CCCU President Shirley V. Hoogstra. “It is not surprising that our CCCU institutions have received exceptional rankings in the student engagement and inspiration categories. We are delighted that a number of our smaller, Christ-centered institutions are being recognized alongside Ivy League schools, large public universities, and nationally regarded private institutions.”

Similarly, CCCU institutions scored well in the Journal’s list of colleges and universities where students feel the most inspired by their peers. Again, CCCU institutions formed a third of the list: Missouri Baptist University, Harding University, and Houghton College, were part of the list of 10 schools that included Brown University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Journal noted the peer inspiration category is “one of the most important factors—and possibly most overlooked.” “Peers are the single most important influential group on campus in terms of how students spend their time, what classes they take, how much they study and what habits they pick up,” George Kuh, a professor of educational policy at Indiana University, told the Journal. “Peers matter big time, they shape a student’s experience.”

Students’ Top Schools for Engagement
1. Dordt College
2. Texas Christian University
3. (Tie) Brigham Young University, Provo; Cedarville University; Texas A&M University, College Station
6. (Tie) Baylor University; Brown University
8. (Tie) Auburn University; Bradley University; California Baptist University; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; Concordia College at Moorhead; Harding University; Oral Roberts University; University of Southern California; Washington University in St. Louis

Students’ Top Schools for Inspiration
1. Alverno College
2. The Master’s University
3. Spelman Colleges
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. Brown University
6. Dartmouth College
7. Missouri Baptist University
8. Harvard University
9. Harding University
10. Houghton College


The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of more than 180 Christian institutions around the world. With campuses across the globe, including more than 150 in the U.S. and Canada and nearly 30 more from an additional 18 countries, CCCU institutions are accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities whose missions are Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith. Most also have curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. The CCCU’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth.