The Princeton Review released its annual college rankings lists earlier this month, including lists of the top 20 schools with the most religious and least religious students.
The top five schools with the most religious students are:
1) Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah
2) Hillsdale College in HIllsdale, Mich.
3) Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif.
4) Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.
5) Grove City College in Grove City, Pa.
The top five schools with the least religious students are:
1) Bennington College in Bennington, Vt.
2) Reed College in Portland, Ore.
3) Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.
4) Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
5) Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y.
These rankings are based on a survey of over 122,000 students in which The Princeton Review collected "tons of information" with the goal of helping students choose the school that is best suited to them.
All but one of the top five least religious schools, Bennington College, offer degrees in religious studies.
Vicki Samaritano is a Campus Crusade for Christ adviser and coach to the organization's members at Sarah Lawrence College.
"That makes a lot of sense,” she said in an interview with The Christian Post on Wednesday, after having already read about the rankings.
“It really is the darkest place I think I've ever been before, and I say that based upon experiences from conversations I've had with different students and just the response to Christianity particularly on campus,” she said.
Campus Crusade for Christ International is an evangelism and discipleship ministry that has 1,660 movements on 1,140 different campuses involving over 60,000 students. Cru, as the organization will be official known as beginning in 2012, was founded in 1951 and is based in Orlando, Fla.
Samaritano previously worked with Sarah Lawrence, from 2004 to 2007, before she returned to the school in 2010. She also works with other New York colleges, including Columbia University.
"I don't know that I would say Sarah Lawrence is antagonistic...there's just an apathy,” she said concerning the lack of religious students.
She visits the campus about once a month as one of her “distance schools” and says that Cru meetings there average about 10 people.
"I have strong relationships with those Christians on campus and my goal is to equip them so that they can influence their peers,” she said. She shared a story of how she led one student to faith in Jesus, but says it was the girl's encounters with other Christians on campus that was the “key” to her conversion.
The group prays a lot for the other students, Samaritano said, and the challenges they face in such a “tough environment” are no different from any other college, and they are finding courage and boldness to speak up.
"I think students really having experience in sharing their faith and seeing God work really fuels their courage to do that,” she said.
More college rankings can be found on The Princeton Review's website or in their Best 376 Colleges – 2012 Edition guidebook, which is available in stores now.