Since you are at the very beginning of your college search, I think
you should all keep an open mind about the exact type of Christian
school you are seeking. I believe you and your son would be quite
surprised at how open and non-dogmatic most Christian colleges have
actually become these days. Just because a college is
non-denominational, evangelical and Christian does not make it a top
pick. And just because a college has a Catholic, Lutheran or
Protestant background does not exclude it from the realm of an open
Christian atmosphere with a range of diverse faiths.
This is just the beginning of narrowing down the playing field.
Starting to highlight some basic desires when seeking a college is the
first step. Aside from seeking a Christian school, the geographic area
is also a primary factor. Your son has already expressed a desire for
the West. But what about size? The majority of Christian colleges are
small (usually under 3,000 students). I think this is a desirable
feature, but your son may not. Does your son like rural areas? The
city? Does he want access to hiking and skiing, or to water sports for
his leisure time? Does he want a school with a good international
I continue to urge you not to neglect Christian colleges that fall
under a certain denomination. I can't stress this enough. Most schools
that have a denominational background have it in "name" only. A
Lutheran school will attract evangelical conservative Christians
students as well as Baptists, Catholics, Methodists - and even those
with no faith. The primary aspect to keep in mind is that a college
rooted in a Christian background usually attracts a student body that
is accepting of Christian individuals and their beliefs. Your son will
not have to explain his beliefs as much as he would if he went to a
more liberal college with no Christian stance whatsoever. Does that
With that in mind, I have compiled a list which includes a variety of
Christian colleges that tend to be somewhat conservative but not
overly so, have a Christian leaning whatever the denomination, and
have a music program. This list will provide a good start for you and
your son. The next step involves looking at each school's website and
narrowing down the list based on location, size, etc. Then start a few
college visits. Bear in mind that at this point, your son might
totally change direction! This is not unusual. Once a prospective
student actually visits a college campus and realizes they are
essentially "picking a home" for the next four years, their eyes
suddenly pop open and they can start to panic!! Don't be surprised if
he suddenly says something like...."I don't want to go to college now"
or "Hey....maybe I'll just take a few years off and travel!" Or...I
don't want to go to a Christian school now. I want to go to a large
University with 20,000 students so I have a lot of diversity." All I
can say is "Be patient. Your son needs time to explore."
The following list contains the best picks I have been able to
deliniate at this point, according to your clarifications.
AZUSA PACIFIC (Evangelical Christian)
"Azusa Pacific University is an evangelical Christian community of
disciples and scholars who seek to advance the work of God in the
world through academic excellence in liberal arts and professional
programs of higher education that encourage students to develop a
Christian perspective of truth and life."
BIOLOA UNIVERSTIY (Evangelical Christian)
"A Global Center for Christian Thought and Spiritual Renewal - "Biola
University is a private Christian university founded in 1908 and
located in Southern California. We offer 145 academic programs,
ranging from the B.A. to the Ph.D., through six schools. All are
regionally and professionally accredited and based on evangelical
"Biola is recognized as a National University (ranked by US News &
World Report)- one of 229 out of the 3,300 institutions of higher
learning in the United States that are called the "major leagues" of
higher education. Biola is the only school among the 100 members of
the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the only
Evangelical Christian University to hold such a distinction."
"Many Biola students express their faith through work in off-campus
Christian service. Each year, our students and faculty involve
themselves in nearly 200,000 hours of community service. Whether
leading a Bible study in a nearby church or evangelizing on the
streets of inner cities, the Biola community is active in living and
sharing their faith."
Conservatory of Music
"Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to the highest
standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students
are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership."
"The mission of Westmont College is to provide a high quality
undergraduate liberal arts program in a residential campus community
that assists college men and women toward a balance of rigorous
intellectual competence, healthy personal development, and strong
WHITWORTH COLLEGE = Spokane
"Since 1890, Whitworth has held fast to its founding mission of
providing "an education of mind and heart" through rigorous
intellectual inquiry guided by dedicated Christian scholars.
Recognized as one of the top regional colleges and universities in the
West, Whitworth enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate
and graduate degree programs."
GONZAGA UNIVERSITY - Spokane
Jesuit tradition but all faiths
SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
"Established in the Pacific Northwest more than a century ago by Free
Methodist pioneers, SPU is a comprehensive Christian university of the
liberal arts, sciences and professions. Our location offers the
benefits of an intimate campus community and a thriving metropolis.
PACIFIC LUTHERAN - Tacoma
"Our Lutheran heritage gives PLU a uniquely broad idea of what it
means to be successful. Unlike many other universities, we believe
that there is more to life than landing a good job and winning the
race to the top of your career. For us, success also means developing
both a deep understanding of your possible roles in the world and the
tools necessary to benefit the world around you. In short, a PLU
education is a values-based education. You will be asked to wrestle
with issues of value throughout your studies so that you develop the
skills and sensibilities to be a successful human being, living a life
in service to others. Your professors will challenge you to reflect in
class on how your community involvement relates to the academic theory
Department of Music
( * This might be too small at only 800+ students )
College is more than an education; it?s a time of preparation. That?s
why CCU offers diverse experiences based on defining your faith,
increasing your knowledge, and embracing adventure to equip you
spiritually while preparing you for your chosen career. Compelling
class discussions. Praise and worship chapel. Mission trips all over
the world. Outdoor leadership classes like ice climbing and white
water rafting. Ministries that meet the needs of others. Friendships
that will change your life. CCU offers all of this and more. We invite
you to come and experience CCU for yourself."
Top Majors: CCU?s most popular majors for traditional undergraduate
students include: business, youth ministry, psychology, music,
education, biology, global studies, communications, and liberal arts.
School of Music
TEXAS CHRISTIAN - Forth Worth
"TCU delivers a world-class, values-centered university experience,
consistently ranking in the top 5 percent of the 3,500 universities
and colleges in the nation. In the last half-decade, TCU has invested
some $200 million in top-of-the-line facilities. It annually exceeds
enrollment goals, and the endowment is among the top 60 among colleges
and universities in the United States."
Music Program is in the School of Fine Arts (Click on link from home page)
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY - Waco
"Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas and affiliated with the
Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baylor is the oldest institution
of higher learning in continuous operation in the state and the
largest Baptist university in the world.
While remaining true to its heritage, Baylor has grown to almost
14,000 students, and its nationally recognized academic divisions
provide 146 baccalaureate degree programs at the undergraduate level.
The University also offers 73 master's and 22 doctoral programs, two
educational specialists, juris doctor, master of divinity and doctor
of ministry. The 735-acre campus is located on the banks of the Brazos
River in Waco, Texas, a metropolitan area of 200,000 people.
School of Music
Respected sources like Money magazine, Loren Pope's Colleges That
Change Lives, and College: The Undergraduate Experience in America by
Ernest Boyer say that smaller schools like Southwestern provide
students with the best educational opportunities. According to these
and other sources, colleges and universities with no more than 2,000
students provide a higher percentage of students with a fulfilling and
successful undergraduate experience.
Yet Southwestern offers big opportunities - to discover the world, to
make a difference and to enrich one's life. Its size allows students
to interact with faculty one-to-one, not one-to-many. It creates an
academic environment where faculty care about what classes their
student colleagues take and where they strive to help students
graduate in four years, not five or six. Southwestern's size also
fosters the development of an intellectual and social community where
students are known for their individuality instead of being just
another face in the crowd."
MIDWEST AND EAST COAST
GOSHEN COLLEGE - Indiana
"Goshen College, established in 1894, is now a private, coeducational,
four-year, residential, Christian college of the liberal arts and
sciences rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The
distinctiveness of a Goshen education derives from the college's
dedication to five core values in preparing students as leaders for
the church and the world. Stemming from our Christ-centeredness is our
commitment to passionate learning, global citizenship, servant
leadership and compassionate peacemaking."
INDIANA WESLEYAN - Evangelical Christian
"Indiana Wesleyan University is an Evangelical Christian liberal arts
coeducational university operated by The Wesleyan Church. It offers a
blend of liberal arts and professional educational programs leading to
the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Bachelor of Arts,
Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of
Education and Master of Business Administration degrees. The heritage
of the IWU has been to prepare students both for being and for
doing--that is, to produce students who have, through various majors
and professional programs, been developed as whole persons and
prepared professionally to contribute meaningfully to their
communities and professions. That dual focus continues to drive
Indiana Wesleyan University as it emphasizes the importance of theory
applied to practice. As our mission states: "Indiana Wesleyan
University is a Christ-centered academic community committed to
changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship,
"Indiana Wesleyan University will prepare each student to become a
world changer. We will accomplish this by drawing students into an
integrated experience of intellectual challenge, spiritual growth, and
leadership development. Thus we will: Call students to Christian
character, Expect academic excellence, Equip students for success in
their vocations, Mentor students in leadership and Prepare students
"Musicians who wish to major in other areas than music have numerous
activities and classes available to them at Indiana Wesleyan. All
classes and ensembles are open to all majors as well as private
lessons. In fact, all of our ensembles are made up of music majors and
non-majors alike. Many of the ensembles require auditions, but the
audition is based on ability and not on the major that is declared.
Many students are interested in the traveling Christian Servce Teams.
You do not have to be a music major to audition for a team. In fact,
the Christian Service Teams are not administered by the music
GORDON COLLEGE - Massachusetts
"Gordon College, in Wenham, Massachusetts, is among the top Christian
colleges in the nation and the only nondenominational Christian
college in New England."
U.S. News - America's Best Colleges 2007
Christian College Guide
Christian Colleges, Universities, & Bible Colleges
I hope these suggestions are helpful. I wish you and your son the
best of luck and an exciting time of exploration!