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Rating America's Colleges


#10 Exceptional School

Christendom College
Front Royal, Virginia

Christendom College

To Form the Whole Person

Set among Northern Virginia exurban sprawl, Christendom was founded in 1977 as a counterblast to the secularization of once-faithful Catholic colleges. All students complete a rigorous Catholic core curriculum covering Western civilization before choosing a major in classical and early Christian studies, English, history, philosophy, political science and economics, or theology. The school sticks to its specialties, so each of these majors is strong, with philosophy the most highly regarded. More than half of classes are small and all are taught by professors. Students are intellectually and morally serious; class discussions typically spill over into long conversations over coffee. Instead of political correctness, there is an absolute expectation of Catholic orthodoxy; debates on campus are among Republicans, anticapitalist agrarians, libertarians, paleoconservatives, and monarchists. Shared premises make such disputes more fruitful. The greatest weaknesses, faculty sources say, are anemic programs in math, science, and modern languages—and an occasional overemphasis on moral (over against intellectual) formation. Strict rules regulate student drinking and forbid sexual misbehavior. Dorms are single-sex, and a modest dress code prevails. Most students attend not just weekly but daily Mass, and pro-life activism is vigorous. Crime is rare. The average student loan debt of a recent grad was $24,000.

(Read the Review)


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