Our very own James Barham has just published a ranking of “the 50 best colleges in the United States” on his “The Best Schools” website. His list features some ID-sympathetic schools — for example, the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. The website lists the following five factors as being of particular value:
(1) Record of achievement. When you graduate from any of the colleges in our ranking, you’ll have something to show for it. You’ll have a skill-set, a credential, a springboard to new possibilities. This can translate into cash, but it can also translate in other ways.
(2) Diversity of study. We think excellence in a college education need not be confined to liberal arts and sciences. Business, engineering, architecture, seafaring, aviation, musicianship, visual arts, performing arts, filmmaking, animation, etc., are all legitimate pursuits in college, and a list of top colleges should reflect this diversity.
(3) Freedom of inquiry and expression. We believe that dogmatism and political correctness hinder true education. You’ll find liberal and conservative schools in our ranking. But we’ve avoided schools whose main business is indoctrination and politicization.
(4) Academic Rigor. College should be fun, but also a time of intense concentration and effort. An undergraduate’s course of study should be thoroughgoing, empowering him or her with mastery of a subject, skill, or set of ideas. Also, more focus should be on primary sources rather than criticism.
(5) Low Cost and Minimal Debt. A college education should not load students with massive debt. Large debts drastically limit what students can do after graduation. We like schools that charge zero tuition (yes, such schools exist—read on!), or have such big endowments that students with financial need can get scholarships.