Best Colleges for Young Single Mormons

July 31, 2004 | 60 comments
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All of our permanent bloggers are married, so we do not talk much about the life of single members, except by way of remembrance. This morning, however, I had one of those milestone events that marks the aging of a father as I spoke with my daughter about her college plans. We had explored this topic before, but only in fairly general terms, and over the past six months she has been receiving college brochures at a pace that would rival a top high school quarterback. Today she listed some of the colleges she was considering, and I was surprised by some of her choices, mainly because they are in locations that do not seem to hold much promise for finding LDS peers. (Given that she has spent most of her life in such locations, I suspect that this factor did not even enter her calculation.) That started me thinking: what are the best undergraduate colleges in the US for a single, LDS college student? Let’s make a list.

Before you start with the equivocation (“it depends what you are looking for …”), stop. Let’s just imagine that we are US News and we have to come up with an aggregate result, even if we are comparing apples and oranges. “Best” is a composite of educational, social, cultural, and professional opportunities, with the assumption that single, LDS college students want to associate with other single, LDS college students, if not exclusively then at least more than occasionally.

My Top 10 (in alphabetical order): Berkeley, BYU, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Utah State, Washington.

Honorable Mention: Wisconsin. ;-)

Final note: I found this to be a pretty difficult exercise. Although I have visited every college on my list, I don’t really know much about most of them from the perspective of a single, LDS college student. If you think that your school was slighted, therefore, don’t flame … explain. I am open to persuasion.

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60 Responses to Best Colleges for Young Single Mormons

  1. Measure on July 31, 2004 at 4:41 pm

    I would submit Arizona State University. I don’t know how it would fit all your criterium, but there are several student wards at ASU.

  2. Julie in Austin on July 31, 2004 at 4:45 pm

    I think UT Austin has reached critical mass for an LDS social scene. It’s a good (and *cheap*) school, great for those who like outdoorsy things (hiking, biking) and/or hate cold. I don’t know enough about some of the schools you listed to know if UT should bump one of them off of the top ten.

    I can say that I loved my time in Berkeley (technically, the GTU). Whatever you want, it’s there.

  3. Gordon Smith on July 31, 2004 at 4:46 pm

    I think ASU is a good suggestion. I taught at the law school there for one semester, and the Institute is right across the street. ASU and Washington were competing for the last position on my list.

  4. Gordon Smith on July 31, 2004 at 4:53 pm

    Julie, I wondered about UT. I have never visited Austin (despite several aborted attempts … I would like to see what’s happening in tech entrepreneurship there), so I didn’t put it on the list, and my big question was whether it had the critical mass of LDS students that you mention. If it does, then I it is pushing for a place on my top ten.

  5. John on July 31, 2004 at 4:54 pm

    In talking to other students who have gone to many of the colleges mentioned, they all had good things to say about their experiences. But none of them showed the enthusiasm and passion for their college experience as those that went to Stanford. The combination of academics, weather, ward life, weather, dorm life, weather, architechture, and atheletics is hard to beat. Oh, did I mention the weather? I live in Boston right now and let me tell you, I wouldn’t even go outside in December, January, or February here. At Stanford I remember playing soccer in 80 degree weather in the “dead of winter”.

    Of course one should note that I think BYU is Satan’s plan, so maybe I am biased.

  6. Gordon Smith on July 31, 2004 at 5:01 pm

    John: “I think BYU is Satan’s plan …”

    Amazing that he could the Prophet and so many Apostles for the Board of Trustees!

  7. D. Edward on July 31, 2004 at 5:54 pm

    I think it would really depend on what your daughter seeks and what you want in her undergraduate education. It would depend on her motive and purpose of going to college.

    If finding a mate is her primary concern, I have not much to say other than the fact to find a location where there are strong LDSSA organization. You can usually find out about these locations by contacting the institute director in your area. If receiving prestigious education is what she wants, then she should find best she can go to. Usually finding a decent school with sufficient LDS population is what many of non-BYU may seek for.

    From my experience, there are not many universities in this country that has such small LDS population that one have hard time finding friends/mate. I think it would be really up to what your daughter wants in her college life and how much she is willing to be actively engaged in LDS community to have a good time.

    I received my undergraduate degree in Boston where there were only two singles wards. Some had a very difficult time surviving in the atmosphere and have fallen away from church. There were very few that married in these wards (including myself) but those who did not marry in the ward seemed to be happy about where they received their education and ended up marrying another LDS later on (or not).

  8. Julie in Austin on July 31, 2004 at 6:17 pm

    BTW, you can find out the enrollment at any Institute at http://www.ldsces.org.

  9. Russell Arben Fox on July 31, 2004 at 6:53 pm

    “From my experience, there are not many universities in this country that have such small LDS population that one has a hard time finding friends/mate.”

    Unfortunately, not true. I think that Gordon’s framing of the discussion, and the subsequent comments, have assumed that the Mormon youth making the choice in question is a serious student from a middle or upper-class home with a lot of financial support and a decent education behind them, thus giving them a wide range of state and private institutions to choose from. Those are not options available to a great many single Mormon young adults in the real world. For instance, there are probably fewer than a dozen active LDS students attending Arkansas State University, where I teach. I see them in our ward, and if I was assigned to work with the singles, I would be urging every one of them to move on a weekly basis. Jonesboro is a fine place to raise an LDS family; however, assuming marrying in the covenant is a priority (which, of course, it isn’t for everyone), it’s a terrible place to look for an LDS spouse. The same could probably be said for at least half, if not two-thirds, of the college towns in the U.S.

    This is why UVSC (and schools like it) was so valuable to so many: it allowed less-than-BYU-caliber students to take advantage of the BYU social scene. Not that that’s a particular fine social scene; I don’t think it is, and I would recommend instead any number of other community and state colleges in various places around the country. Where are those places? Actually, probably most of the one’s Gordon and others have already mentioned: Boston, the Bay Area, Washington D.C., Austin, anywhere in Arizona, Seattle, anywhere in Utah, etc.

  10. Nate Oman on July 31, 2004 at 8:00 pm

    My brother-in-law went to USC, and from what I gather there are an enormous number of LDS singles in and around L.A. Of course, I think that Southern California is Satan’s plan, so I am rather biased…

  11. Gordon Smith on July 31, 2004 at 8:13 pm

    Finding an eternal mate isn’t necessarily the issue, but finding friends with similar standards and priorities is an issue. The standards (no drinking, smoking, drugs, sex) won’t be as hard as the priorities (church attendance, temple marriage, etc.). For the latter, I think that the critical mass is important. I tend to agree with Russell about the difficulty of finding a strong group of college-aged people. In my experience, it isn’t that easy.

  12. Ian R on July 31, 2004 at 8:15 pm

    Another vote for UT and Austin.

    Texas A&M in College Station has a huge institute program as well. But who want’s to live in a town full of Aggies? Talk about Satan’s plan….

  13. john fowles on July 31, 2004 at 8:24 pm

    I’m with Nate: So. Cal. is Satan’s plan–but it’s true that the California schools are good for LDS connections (if you are interested in “California Mormons”).

    I also agree with Russell about the plight of the majority of college aged LDS single young adults. But since this consideration goes to Gordon’s daughter and people in her situation, I would actually agree with D. Edward that finding a strong LDSSA is key and that pretty much any University will do–so choose the best one for your personal academic needs.

    Given the size of the US and the regional differences, I would say that it is pretty hard to put together a top ten list if anything but school rankings is in consideration. But I personally would have loved to attend a small liberal arts college for my undergrad (though not one that would preclude further advancement into a top graduate program, so perhaps a feeder school into Princeton, Harvard, Yale, etc.) rather than BYU. But that strays far from having a large selection pool of LDS singles as an important factor in choosing the college. And, having said that, I should also retreat and say that I very much enjoyed my undergraduate work at BYU (being someone who is not bothered by homogeneity).

  14. Gordon Smith on July 31, 2004 at 8:35 pm

    Regarding the “social scene” at BYU, I quite enjoyed it during my first two years (one as a non-member). It was such a refreshing change of pace from small-town Wisconsin. I still remember calling home, so excited that my newfound friends didn’t need to get drunk to feel like they were having fun. And then there was my friend “Moose,” a non-member from Boston who was so thrilled that the young women agreed to dance with him. For some of us, BYU was amazing for it openness and good clean fun.

    I enjoyed it less after my mission, when dating was less about having fun than finding a mate. And once I was married, I couldn’t wait to leave, but that was more about getting on with life than about disliking BYU.

  15. John on July 31, 2004 at 10:02 pm

    Perhaps I should explain the BYU is Satan’s plan comment. This is patially meant in jest, but I do think that implementing Satan’s plan is a very real temptation even for those that are righteous and that BYU is flawed from a perspective of free agency.

    While I didn’t attend BYU, family members have and my in-laws work there. I did attend a two-week summer computer course there during high school. I would love to hear feedback (positive or negative) from Zoobies and others.

    The BYU Honor Code requires students to live by rules that go above and beyond the commandments. Many of these are an artificial aid in keeping the commandments, others a way of maintaining academic integrity, and others seem arbitrary such as the facial hair rules.

    Just as Satan wanted to make sure thought that restricting free agency was the way to save us, BYU restricts it in order to maintain its image. Satan’s plan was flawed in many ways. One of those ways was that it inhibited our progression. It seems to me that BYU provides to much “insulation” from the real world and it might not be the best place for many to progress.

    I don’t have time to list all the examples (an exercise for the reader perhaps?), but here is one:
    At BYU you take proctored tests in a testing center and other students are encouraged to turn in cheaters.
    At Stanford you take a test in a room with no proctors, your professor waits outside and answers questions. You sign the honor code prior to taking the test and people take it seriously.
    A friend that went to Cal Tech tells me that they are given time-limited (usually 3 hours) closed book tests as take home tests. They can take the test at any point during the week and people take it seriously.

    Which code best teaches honor?

  16. Gordon Smith on July 31, 2004 at 10:26 pm

    John, As you undoubtedly know, BYU is not the only school with an honor code. Indeed, most schools have one (even Stanford, as you note), but BYU’s is more extensive than most, covering not only academic misconduct, but also dress and grooming standards and other conduct. While I think an Honor Code is justified at a Church-owned institution, there have certainly been a lot of ridiculous applications and I can understand why people might chafe at some of the restrictions.

    That said, I do not think your example is a particularly strong indictment of BYU. I attended the University of Chicago Law School and have taught at five other law schools. In every instance, exams were proctored, and students were expected to turn in cheaters. You may not find this a particularly good approach to monitoring misconduct, but BYU is hardly exceptional in this regard.

  17. John on July 31, 2004 at 10:46 pm

    Gordon, good point. Maybe if I have more time tomorrow I’ll post some other examples. Also, the double standard for athletes makes it all the worse.

  18. Ivan Wolfe on July 31, 2004 at 11:12 pm

    I’m at UT-Austin right now, but I am also married.

    I have to say, it may seem cliched, but when I was single, I enjoyed Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) more than BYU. Rexburg is a lot more isolated than Provo, but you basically know nearly every one.

    Of course, growing up in a small town, knowing pretty much everyone was a comfort. BYU scared me by its “bigness.” UT-Austin is downright scary in its enormity.

  19. Ethesis (Stephen M) on July 31, 2004 at 11:15 pm

    North Carolina, Duke, etc, the troika in that area has a good LDS population and students who enjoy learning.

  20. Renee on July 31, 2004 at 11:37 pm

    If marriage scares the crap out of you but you want to be surrounded by LDS students, may I suggest Creighton University’s dental school in Omaha, Nebraska. There, you will find lots of great LDS folk who seem to be petrified of dating. True, that’s mostly the issue of the men.

    Like 2 of my former roommates, if you are a woman pursuing a career in dentistry, you too, can come here and surround yourself with LDS males who will make constant jokes that your degree will be worthless when you get married and have kids… as though husbands just fell out of the sky and into your lap and these are the same guys who won’t date anyone. (insert eye rolling here)

  21. Chris Grant on July 31, 2004 at 11:47 pm

    John wrote: “Perhaps I should explain the BYU is Satan’s plan comment. This is patially meant in jest, but I do think that implementing Satan’s plan is a very real temptation even for those that are righteous and that BYU is flawed from a perspective of free agency.”

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “During my nine years at BYU I read many letters to the editor in the Universe that protested various rules as infringements of free agency. I am glad I don’t see those funny arguments anymore, probably because I no longer have to read the letters to the editor in the Universe.”

    John wrote: “The BYU Honor Code requires students to live by rules that go above and beyond the commandments.”

    Yes, sort of like the missionary handbook requires missionaries to live by rules that go above and beyond the commandments.

    John wrote: “At BYU you take proctored tests in a testing center and other students are encouraged to turn in cheaters. At Stanford you take a test in a room with no proctors, your professor waits outside and answers questions. You sign the honor code prior to taking the test and people take it seriously.”

    As for turning in cheaters, that is not an unusual component of honor codes. For example, the University of Virginia’s code says that “students will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor shall they tolerate those who do”. Even Stanford’s honor code requires students to “do their share and take an active part in seeing to it that others as well as themselves uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code.”

  22. Gordon Smith on July 31, 2004 at 11:49 pm

    How could I forget North Carolina/Duke? Apologies all around. I never know which to place above the other, but I would think that these would be a great place for an LDS undergrad.

    And Renee, that’s hilarious. I wonder if any of those dental students read T&S.

  23. Gordon Smith on August 1, 2004 at 12:00 am

    Just for fun, here are some institute enrollment numbers from the Church’s website:

    Arizona State (Tempe) 947
    Berkeley 94
    Duke and UNC 168
    Georgetown 436
    Harvard & MIT 337
    Stanford 187
    Texas 349
    UCLA 192
    USC 134
    Utah 5824
    Utah State 6866
    Washington 244
    Wisconsin 124

    Thanks to Julie for the website url (http://www.lds.org/). Also, note that these numbers are for the Institute, which often includes more schools than the school listed.

  24. D. Edward on August 1, 2004 at 12:15 am

    The statistics above given in lds.org is not entirely accurate. They might be true but is definitely not a good representative of LDS community your daughter may be getting into.

    For example, there maybe 337 Harvard and MIT (plus other Boston Universities) single LDS members but they mostly are graduate students.

    You should keep these numbers as a reference but I would still encourage you to contact someone who knows much more about the area.

  25. Gerald on August 1, 2004 at 12:18 am

    After having spent some time in the bishopric of the Berkeley Singles Ward, I can say that the environment there would definitely be beneficial for those that have an inquiring mind and desire a stronger testimony.

  26. Jim F. on August 1, 2004 at 12:26 am

    I’d like to suggest that USU should move closer to the top on Gordon’s list. The environment is very LDS, the school is good in some areas and very good in others (though its research programs are excellent in only a few areas, that is not as relevant to undergrads). I know a number of LDS families who encourage their children to attend USU because they’ve been so pleased with both the education and the atmosphere there.

    John: Like many schools, BYU has had and continues to have problems with some athletes. As far as I know, however, it doesn’t have a double-standard when it comes to the Honor Code. I know the dean of students and the VP for Student Life, and I can’t imagine either of them agreeing to look the other way or dealing with athlete offenders of the Honor Code differently than they do other offenders. There may be professors or coaches who use a double standard. I don’t know about that. But if offenders come to the attention of those in charge of dealing with violators of the Honor Code, I’m pretty certain that athletes get no different treatment than others.

  27. Gordon Smith on August 1, 2004 at 12:26 am

    Good point, D. Edward. I am assuming that these numbers represent everyone who takes a class at the Institute, not just single members and not just students. As a result, they surely overstate the single population significantly. On the other hand, I suppose that there might be uncounted singles who are not enrolled in an Institute class but nevertheless active in Church. I do not have a good sense of this, other than to say that I was surprised by the size of the Wisconsin number, and I believe that exceeds the number who regularly attend the singles branch by at least double.

  28. Gordon Smith on August 1, 2004 at 12:35 am

    Jim, My list was alphabetical, so the only way USU moves up is to change its name to Another University of Utah, or some such thing. ;-)

    By the way, I have heard many good things about USU from family and friends.

    On the Honor Code and athletes, I have often wondered whether athletes have more trouble with the HC or just more visible trouble. I am assuming the former because I never hear the coaches making claims that “our athletes are no worse than other students,” but do you know the numbers? Of course, I heard lots about the recent problems with the football players, but if I recall correctly, other students were involved.

  29. John on August 1, 2004 at 12:49 am

    Jim, the honor code situations that I am aware of were a while ago. I know there was a situation in which a football player was accused of a rape and in the end the alleged victim was kicked out of school and the football player was suspended for two or three games. But the hidden double standard is that the rules are crafted to accomodate athletes. For instance after Pres. Hinckley gave his standards speech a few years ago BYU suddenly banned having more than one earring. Yet nothing happened regarding tattoos which were a much bigger focus of the speech.

    Chris Grant, I appreciate the quote from Elder Oaks, but I would like to see the argument behind it. As for the white handbook arguement, I think that college and a mission are about different things, how about you? I didn’t go on a mission for myself. I did go to college for me. I agree that other colleges have honor codes involving cheating. It might not have been the best example, though I think that comparisons of law schools (not your comparisons) to undergrad aren’t valid. Of course the honor code at BYU applies to much more than testing, such as earrings, facial hair, and what time you go to bed, right?

  30. Rusty on August 1, 2004 at 1:04 am

    If your daughter is looking into any kind of art school, of course New York becomes a question and Manhattan has two singles wards (and another for those over 30). There are students from Julliard, Columbia, NYU, Pratt, Parsons, School of Visual Arts, Cooper Union, etc. all attending. I’m married and attend my ward in Brooklyn, but the singles that I associate with say the wards are wonderful. Plus, it’s hard to beat New York for social scene.

  31. Gordon Smith on August 1, 2004 at 1:07 am

    John, I am sure you are eager to bone up on BYU’s Honor Code. Here it is: http://campuslife.byu.edu/HONORCODE/honor_code.htm. It doesn’t regulate bedtime, but it does regulate visitation hours in living areas for members of the opposite gender.

    By the way, I used law schools because they are the schools within my experience. You say the comparison to undergraduate colleges isn’t valid. Is that because colleges tend to be less strict about proctoring? I guess I can’t figure out why one would be systematically different than the other … unless you are heading for a lawyer joke here.

  32. Gordon Smith on August 1, 2004 at 1:09 am

    Rusty, Now that you mention it, Parsons is on her list, so I am happy for the information. Anyone from New York able to compare the singles wards there to other locations?

  33. Jim F. on August 1, 2004 at 1:26 am

    Gordon, sorry I didn’t notice that you’d alphabetized the list. (Picture me looking foolish.)

    John, since neither you nor I know what the alleged rapist did or what the accuser did, I don’t see how you can use the case you mention as an example of a double-standard. Perhaps it was. But perhaps he did something that was problematic, but not worth being kicked out of school for and she accused him of a rape he didn’t commit. I don’t know and neither do you.

    As for tatoos. “Nothing happened” at BYU because they were already part of the dress code. You can be admitted with them, but you’re not supposed to get new ones. That rule was already in force, presumably in response to the Board of Trustees, before President Hinckley’s speech.

  34. sid on August 1, 2004 at 1:39 am

    Gordon, I see you dont include either the Un iv of Michigan at Ann Arbor, or Michigan State Univ at East Lansing in your list. Bith have small , but active LDS communities, and very good Indtitute programs, and Singles Wards. In fact, if you are interested, olease email me, and I will put you in touch with the Bishop of the Singles Ward in Ann arbor.

  35. tyler durden on August 1, 2004 at 1:56 am

    “This is why UVSC (and schools like it) was so valuable to so many: it allowed less-than-BYU-caliber students to take advantage of the BYU social scene.”

    geez… thanks for the self esteem boost ;)

  36. Yeechang Lee on August 1, 2004 at 3:35 am

    Gordon Smith asked:
    Rusty, Now that you mention it, Parsons is on her list, so I am happy for the information. Anyone from New York able to compare the singles wards there to other locations?

    I grew up in NYC, went to college there, lived for four years in the Palo Alto area, and just moved into San Francisco. I’d heartily recommend both NYC and Palo Alto as fine places for LDS undergraduates.

    New York: Three singles wards, one for older singles and two for younger (18 on up). During my time at Columbia there were fewer than ten single undergraduate students enrolled at any one time, but when combined with those at NYU, Juilliard, and other schools the figure goes up substantially. There are more graduate students, both married and single, than undergraduates at Columbia and NYU. Also, there are plenty of actorsingerdancer types that are college age and older. Careerwise, most of the college graduates (mostly BYU grads) are in fields like graphic design, advertising, public relations, and marketing.

    Palo Alto: Two singles wards, one for older and the other for younger (division occurred in 2002). Stanford has as many as 16 new LDS undergraduates enrolling each year (!), enough for a special freshman-only Gospel Doctrine class in the younger ward. There are also many single and married graduate students, although the graduate/undergraduate ratio is more even than in NYC. Most of the college graduates work in engineering or some other technical field; teaching; and Big 4 accounting firms.

    San Francisco: As mentioned above I’m a newcomer to San Francisco proper. One ward for ages 18-35. From what I gather many of the undergraduates are here for art. There are also many graduate students in medicine and dentistry.

    I am also somewhat familiar with some other areas based on what friends have told me.

    Princeton: Single students attend a family ward. About as many single undergraduates as at Columbia, along with a few more single graduate students.

    Boston: Four singles wards, two older (25-30) and two younger (18-24). Even more LDS undergraduates than at Palo Alto, but then there are many colleges to draw from. Harvard and MIT alone undoubtedly enroll more LDS students than any other elite college in the US outside Stanford and perhaps Berkeley.

  37. John on August 1, 2004 at 8:52 am

    Jim F., I agree that we don’t know the details of the rape situation, and it might be something other than what was reported in the Deseret News. At the time I heard from a person that knew both parties and they thought it was bad but that still isn’t evidence enough. As for tattoos, are you telling me that athletes at BYU miss games for getting new tattoos? I would like to know of such a case. Didn’t Araujo get additional tattoos over the summer before his senior year? I know of one case where the new tattoos were aquired while the athlete was on a mission. Anyhow, I can’t find anything about them in the honor code.

    Gordon, Thanks for the link. Law schools are well know to strictly proctor their tests. There is even specialized software developed for and sold to law schools to allow students to take a test while locking them out of all other functions of the computer. I would be interested in an answer from you to the original question though as opposed to examples of other schools with testing centers or testing center like conditions. Which system best teaches honor?

    If BYU students are honorable, what would happen if they got rid of the testing center, and some of the other rules for that matter? Would students run wild? Why do they need such a strict honor code?

  38. Russell Arben Fox on August 1, 2004 at 9:54 am

    Tyler, I assure you, no offense was intened to those who attend or attended UVSC. BYU is what it is–a socially, economically and acedmically elite institution. It was becoming such when I went there, and despite then-BYU President Jeff Holland’s claim that BYU didn’t want to become the “Harvard of the West,” it has continued in that direction since. (Admittedly, not as aggressively as it might; by refraining from becoming a full-blown research institution, and focusing on undergraduate education, there are elite developments that BYU isn’t pursuing.) This was probably inevitable if only for demographic reasons: an enrollment-capped university which a huge number of Mormon parents want their their kids to get into, and which (despite certain exceptions) basically assess itself and its student body much like every other modern university, is going to result in ever higher and more narrow standards of performance. Which means BYU is exclusive, and will only become moreso. Please note: I’m not assuming that that “exclusivity” necessarily means “better.” It’s better for many people for many things, certainly. But it definitely isn’t the right place for many others, perhaps most others.

    As far as the subject of this thread is concerned, it seems to me a good thing if there are other Utah schools which allow less exclusive access to the environment generated by and around BYU. Indeed, in ten years time when Megan is 18, I may be encouraging her to take advantage of them, because we’re going to want her to spend time with Mormons her own age (especially if we end up raising her here in Arkansas), and because I’m not sure Melissa or I (or Megan) will personally value the particular mix of costs and benefits that occupying a competitive slot at however-excellent-and-elite-a-place BYU will be by then would require.

  39. Kristine on August 1, 2004 at 4:10 pm

    sid’s beaten me to mentioning Ann Arbor, but I really liked the University Branch there (I think it’s a ward now?)

    As for dating/marriage, I agonized about my college choice and finding a place where there would be a critical mass of potential Mormon husbands. I had a great time dating in the Cambridge University Ward (I’m so old that there was only one when I was there), but didn’t get married. I met my husband in my parents’ ward when I went home for Christmas. Go figure.

  40. Melissa on August 1, 2004 at 6:48 pm

    I would second the advice of getting insight from people who are actually at a given university. The numbers can be deceptive. For example, despite the fact that 192 are enrolled in Institute at UCLA, a 23 year old graduate student at UCLA, in Cambridge for the Summer, recently described the social scene at UCLA to me as “grim, very grim.”

  41. Nate Oman on August 1, 2004 at 7:47 pm

    ” I met my husband in my parents’ ward when I went home for Christmas. Go figure.”

    I went to BYU and ended up marrying someone who went to Boston University and attended the Cambridge Singles Ward.

  42. Ethesis (Stephen M) on August 1, 2004 at 9:28 pm

    BTW, thanks from my wife and myself for the feedback.

    I’ll have to ask the recent Michigan grad about that school, though he is married with a child or two, so he and his wife may not know much about the singles there.

    Thanks again.

  43. sid on August 2, 2004 at 12:06 am

    kristine – the Ann Arbor YSA Branch has noe become a Ward, with Bishop Wayne Brockbank at the helm. I was kicked out and sent to the Ann Arbor 1st family Ward, cuz, i was too old to be in that YSA Ward!!! :) :) I dont know the exact numbers attending that Ward, but, i would assume that between single students at Univ fo Michigan, Eastern Michigan Univ, and other singles from the neighboring Wards, they have at least about 75 people attending Church on any Sunday during the school year. and about half that during the spring/summer. And, I have noticed that the YSA ward seems to be gettin gbigger every year, with more LDS students, both undergrad and grad, coming to attend U-M each year.

  44. BTD Greg on August 2, 2004 at 12:35 pm

    I’m very pleased to see that USU was given props on your list. My wife and I met there, and that alone will forever endear me to Utah State. But I also loved my time there as a student.

    My father just moved to NoCal to become the director of the institute at UC-Berkeley. It will be interesting to talk to him about what it’s like to teach LDS students at Cal. He’s heard good things, and he’s optimistic.

  45. BTD Greg on August 2, 2004 at 12:42 pm

    I supppose I should also mention how much I liked being in Durham-Chapel Hill during my time at Duke. The wards there are great. I wasn’t single at the time, but we really loved it. I think you could probably overstate how many single LDS there are in the area though, if that’s a major component.

  46. Dan Richards on August 2, 2004 at 8:34 pm

    For the record, the CES website pegs the Ann Arbor CES enrollment at 135, higher than Berkeley or USC, and competitive with Stanford and Duke. The singles ward just grew out of their building, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an age-determined split a la Cambridge. Just an hour or so away in East Lansing, Michigan State tops Ann Arbor with 139 enrolled in CES, and there’s even an LDS “dorm”. Out of state tuition is horrendous though, so my recommendation is…

    The University of Arizona! Tucson is so much nicer than Phoenix, in many different ways. I loved my singles wards during my year there, and I think U of A is stronger academically than ASU.

  47. Stew on August 9, 2004 at 3:46 pm

    Having lived at Columbia, GW, near Georgetown, attended a small liberal arts college in New Jersey which tends to pump out pretty good graduates and also attended Stanford, while dating a lds girl at Berkeley, I will weigh in here on these schools.

    Taking quality of education AND ability to interact with Mormons, outside of Utah, the best by far would be Stanford. Berkeley is decent but doesn’t come close to Stanford’s two wards with a mix of students, grad students and professionals. After that, there really isn’t much else to compare itself. Duke and UNC are okay but don’t hold a candle to the lds population out here – and the Columbia/NYU area doesn’t have the same college/grad atmosphere that you would want. Harvard/MIT/BU/BC/Northeastern comes closer to the Stanford area, but most of the people I talk with out there are jealous of what Stanford has. So, in terms of all the right combinations (again, outside of Utah), Stanford should by far be at the top of the list, followed by Harvard/MIT and then maybe Berkeley.

  48. Jack on August 17, 2004 at 12:35 am

    “Are you scared of the after life without your friends and your mate?”

    The second great commanment is like unto the first. It would be a capricious God who would design our existence with the express purpose of finding joy through loving others, e.g. God and our nieghbor, and then leave us without the possibility of eternal fullfillment in that love for which we have already acquired a taste in mortality.

  49. Kaimi on August 17, 2004 at 1:14 am

    As is clearly set out in our Comment Policies, off-topic comments will be deleted.

    Thus, the comment about Joseph Smith’s biography and about praying to leave Mormonism has been removed. It is not on-topic on this post, which deals with the best colleges for young single Mormons.

  50. Lyndi Hatch on August 30, 2004 at 10:13 pm

    I am considering going to UT-Austin and I was wondering if I could get some input from your guys! Thanks

  51. Daisy on September 8, 2004 at 6:39 pm

    There is also another school that is runned by LDS businessmen, but is not run by the church. It is called Southern Virginia Univerisity. I loved it there!!! It was so unique in that there were very few students, but the spirit was really strong. Also, there were a lot of non-members there too. It is a great school. Check it out!

  52. Greg on September 8, 2004 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for your comment Daisy; you may be interested in our interview with the President of SVU, Rod Smith, found here.

  53. Mark B on September 8, 2004 at 6:50 pm

    My daughter has had a great experience as McGill University, in Montreal, where she has just begun her junior year. And, although he entered the MTC last month, she has for the first time had an LDS male in her class–at no time during her schooling in New York City public schools did she ever have a male classmate who was a member of the church.

    The moral of the story: it isn’t necessarily the size of the LDS student community, but whether there are one or two really good friends that can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know that it advance.

  54. Mike on September 8, 2004 at 7:33 pm

    OK, are you including Harvard and MIT as one or two schools. I present the motion to make it one. Same singles scene- etc.

    What about Wisconson? OK, it may not be top ten- but

    My parents live in western Michigan. I don’t really know much about Anne Arbor’s singles ward- I know a lot more people that attend Michigan State. Apparently the LDS community there is great. There are in fact LDS dorms/apartments close to the institute, but not all the students live there. Out of state tuition is huge for both big Michigan schools- and I imagine Wisconson doesn’t have a tuition agreement of any sort with the State of Michigan, but that may not really be an issue.

    I actually quite like the University of Oklahoma. The stats on the church site say 165, but are a bit low- we also have a different institute director now. We had around 185 enrolled in institute at the end of last year and about 125-150 singles attending the ward on Sunday. Edmond is less than an hour north and stillwater less than an hour and half northwest. Both have around a hundred students in institute- and we do things with both groups. (Although in Edmond a lot of those are married students)
    Most of the students are younger- but there is a pretty good mix. If your daughter is a National Merit scholar it is about as economical as going to school can get. Because of that, a number of the students in our ward from out of state are quite bright- the University’s attempts to bribe smart kids into attending apparently works. OU is of course not the same caliber school as the private schools- although I think it more than keeps up with Utah and Utah state- plus if you want to study geology, energy management or meterology there really isn’t anywhere else better. (I however study political science.)

    Downsides-
    Oklahoma is very conservative. (may be ok)
    The Greek scene is big at OU- but actually we don’t usually notice it too much- few members are involved
    OKC is a huge city geographically with little public transport. Although you never really need to go to the city (Norman has about 100,000 people) if you want to get around and see things outside of Norman (and really within Norman) a car is a big plus.

    All that said- I also vote for UT. As a Sooner I am not supposed to be a longhorns fan- but they have great programs in everything and a huge institute program. However- I think it is better as a grad school. The class sizes here are much smaller in the Arts department- and from anecdotal evidence (friends both places in business and the hard sciences) the professors at OU are a lot more accesible.

  55. Holly on November 28, 2004 at 7:09 pm

    As a young single adult myself, I have been to a number of colleges including BYU-Hawaii, BYU-Idaho, and BYU. I can never stay in one place for too long, but hands down I would tell anyone to apply to BYU-Idaho. There is a spirit there that I havent found anywhere else. The whole town is like a mini Provo but friendlier and more down to earth. You don’t have the “in-crowds” or the “scene” as Provo likes to call it. Everyone is friends with everyone, the way it should be. There are tons of clubs and intramurals and all kinds of ways to be active in the school and community.
    If you are one that is bothered by keeping the Honor Code, then BYU-Idaho is not a place I would recommend. Rules are even stricter up there than the other two BYUs. But anyone that has been there knows what it means when someone refers to “the spirit of BYU-Idaho.”
    Also, I really enjoyed my time at BYU-Hawaii, though the school had slim pickins when it came to guys :) It is also difficult to find a job unless you get in with the Polynesian Culture Center. I’ll be going back there in April once I’ve saved some money.
    I am now planning on attending Fullerton Community down in Orange County for a semester and am curious if anyone knows how the lds singles outlook is down there?

  56. Christine on March 22, 2005 at 10:47 am

    As far as I see BYU Idaho is full of Gay boys trying to come out…..anyone else see that?

  57. Chris on July 4, 2005 at 5:16 pm

    Well, it appears this is quite old, but I thought I might add a little here, in case anyone else ever looks at this.

    I am in the Iowa City 1st Ward. It is a regular ward, but there is a YSA branch here. I’m not sure how active the branch is, but there are about 110 people listed in the records. I’d guess most of the guys are medical/dental students, since most of the students in my ward are med/dent (my wife and I seem to be the exceptions; we’re the only students in our ward who are still undergrads, but it is because we are semi-local. All of the out of state members are med/dent, except one law student).

    Anyways, even though there may not be LOTS of singles here, the wards and stake are VERY strong. We’re also in the Nauvoo Temple district, which is awesome.

  58. Cindy on July 15, 2005 at 11:06 pm

    My daughter is thinking of applying at Cal Tech. I cannot see any reference to an LDSSA there. The students all have to live in on-campus co-ed housing, at least for their freshman year. Does anyone know how this works?

  59. dan persinger on October 3, 2005 at 3:05 pm

    bakersfield california is the worst palce to meet a nice lds member who is interested in you. i hate dating.

  60. Rahim Karim on October 30, 2005 at 11:33 am

    How bought Southern Virginia University. This is a mormon school out in Virginia. Everyone is mormon at this school, except for a few players on the football and basketball teams. The staff is mostly mormon, this is a mini BYU in Virginia. We have 90% enrollment in institute, the higest of any college in the world, even more than BYU. SVU has a great environment, and many people here. You here about engagements all the time. More people need to give SVU love.