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The Harvard of Christian Schools?

Wheaton College has often been described as the Harvard of Christian schools due to its academic and spiritual disciplines. In keeping with this unofficial title, students at Wheaton experience a challenging educational environment within the context of faith, which many also balance with extracurricular interests and involvements. But how accurate is this comparison between Wheaton College and Harvard University, and how does Wheaton actually stack up against other Christian colleges? The admissions office told The Record, “That description has not been something that we use internally to describe ourselves, rather how some outside of the community describe Wheaton.” Wheaton has ranked relatively high on various college lists including Forbes Magazine, which gave the college a top 100 ranking, and Business Insider, which ranked it 75 on its overall list of “The 600 Smartest Colleges in America.” Perhaps even more uniquely, Wheaton is included in the book, “Colleges that Change Lives” by Loren Pope, who said, “Wheaton is often called the Harvard of the evangelicals, but that moniker does not do it justice because it is head, shoulders and heart above Harvard in its concern with good moral compasses and strong value systems, as well as in the percentage of future Ph.D.s it has turned out.”

The Record compiled statistics from Wheaton, Harvard and a handful of other Christian schools across the country to see how it compares in different areas. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are innumerous qualities that make up a college, and a good fit for one person may not be the best for another. Though rankings can be impressive, they do not reflect all the factors that go into a school — you may be surprised to find that some of the “Harvard-like” characteristics you have always admired can be found in the classes, cafeteria food, peers and professors right here on Wheaton’s own campus. 

Christian Colleges Online, Christian Colleges: #14

College Choice, Christian Colleges (2015): #14

Theology Degrees, Christian Colleges (2015): #2

Niche, Christian Colleges (2016): #14

U.S. News, National Liberal Arts Colleges (2015): #56

Washington Monthly, Liberal Arts Colleges (2015): #37

Forbes Magazine, Overall: #86

First Things (2010): #1

Included in:

“Colleges that Change Lives” by Loren Pope

“The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2016”: “24 Private Best Buy” colleges & universities

Forbes Magazine: “Top 100 Return on Investment Colleges”

Washington Monthly: “Best Bang for the Buck” schools in the Midwest

College statistics *for consistency, all stats are taken from
Avg. HS GPA Acceptance Rate Sudent:Faculty
Wheaton College 3.85 (5) 69% (6) 11.37:1 (4)
Harvard University 4.03 (1) 6% (1) 6.5:1 (1)
Baylor University not given 55% (5) 15:1 (1)
Calvin College 3.69 (4) 73% (7) 12.9:1 (7)
College of the Ozarks 3.59 (9/10) 8% (2) 15:1 (13)
Gordon College 3.60 (11) 88% (10/11/12) 13:1 (8/9/10)
Hope College 3.77 (2) 85% (9) 12:1 (6)
Indiana Wesleyan University 3.59 (9/10) 97% (13) 14:1 (11)
Pepperdine University 3.61 (8) 35% (3) 13:1 (8/9/10)
Seattle Pacific University 3.55 (12) 88% (10/11/12) 15:1 (14)
Taylor University 3.65 (6) 88% (10/11/12) 13:1 (8/9/10)
Trinity Christian College (Ill.) 3.50 (13) 78% (8) 11:1 (2/3)
St. Olaf College 3.62 (7) 51% (4) 11.8:1 (5)
Whitworth College 3.76 (3) 99% (14) 11:1 (2/3)

Niche college comparison: Harvard University vs. Wheaton College

*Niche grades based on student-survey responses and data

Harvard Wheaton
Academics A+ A
Athletics B B
Campus Food A- A+
Campus Housing A+ A+
Campus Quality A+ A
Diversity A+ B
Drug Safety C A+
Health & Safety B A+
Local Area A+ B-
Off-Campus Dining A A
Parking C- B+
Party Scene A- D+
Technology A+ A-
Transportation A+ B-
Weather B- B-


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