College review by Lisa Bleich
Pepperdine has a gorgeous campus that sits on top of a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu. There are beautiful vistas everywhere you look from the mountains behind the campus to the pretty Malibu homes below to the deep blue Ocean. The buildings are all white with red tile roofs built circa the early 70’s. Some of the interiors of the buildings are somewhat tired, but there is a strong homey feel within the dorm lounges. They were decorated with sofas, hand-made posters, and Christmas decorations peppered throughout given the season. The athletics facilities are top notch as is the cafeteria, which is airy and filled with light with a phenomenal ocean view!
Pepperdine is a dry campus and the dorms are single sex. 60-65% of students live on campus and many of the upper classmen live in apartments right near campus. Out of consideration for roommates (wink, wink), nobody of the opposite sex is allowed in a room after 1 am or in the lounge after 2 am.
Students are clean cut, friendly, conservative, and have a strong penchant towards serving others. (2/3 of the student participate in community service) 70% of the students are Christian and other 30% come from a wide range of other religions from Muslim to Jewish to Hindu. 55% come from out of state and approximately 10% are international.
Pepperdine was founded by the Church of Christ and continues to have a strong Christian influence. Values based education is infused into the curriculum. To that end, students have several General Educational requirements including 3 religion courses: 1 class each on the Old and New Testament and 1 class relating Christianity to another field such as politics, history, etc. The classes are taught through a historical, rather than religious, lens. In addition, students must take one credit of Convocation that requires attending 14 seminars.
Pepperdine has outstanding study abroad opportunities for students at 6 locations. Most students study abroad during their sophomore year so they can complete their GE requirements overseas. Argentina is the only program that offers a home stay living arrangement. In Italy and the other countries, students are housed together in dorms. The strongest academic programs are Communications, Business, Natural Sciences, and Pre-Med/Health Sciences. They are also strong in Performing and Visual Arts (both require an audition/portfolio respectively.) Two big events on campus are a dancefest and a songfest. During the songfest, students come together in teams and write and produce a mini musical to perform before the student body. Professors take an active role in educating the students both in and out of the classroom. They go out of their way to make sure that students feel connected and have opportunities for personal and academic growth.
While Malibu is home to the stars and a beautiful place to go to school, it is a sleepy, suburban town, located approximately 40-45 minutes from LA. There is a cute country mart with some upscale stores, a movie theater, market and restaurants. Our tour guide was from Huntington Beach, about an hour south of Malibu. He said that many of the CA students go home during the first year or so to do laundry and get a home cooked meal, but come back at night. As a junior, he stays on campus now. There are always events planned each weekend and 30% of the students participate in Greek life. There were a lot of Christmas related activities planned such as candle lighting and caroling. The Jewish student association was also organizing a candle lighting program.
There are also many outdoor activities such as a surf club and class, hikes, and bike riding. Athletics are big since it is a Division 1 school. The top teams are volleyball, basketball, and tennis. There are also a lot of traveling club sports that students participate in as well that are very competitive.
Pepperdine is a select university. They received approximately 10,000 applications last year and accepted 30% of the students. 70% of the decision is based on the unweighted GPA (out of a 4.0) and test scores. They would like to see students challenge themselves in areas of strength, but ultimately they seemed to care more about the grade than the rigor. The will also super score both the ACT with writing and the SAT taking the best combined score. The other 30% of the decision is determined by the character of the student, letters of reference, activities, and awards. They are looking for students who will fit with the overall mission of the school and can show the school how they will contribute to both the Pepperdine community and the larger community through leadership, service, and character.
73% of students receive some form or financial aid. There are numerous talent and academic merit scholarships. The talent-based scholarships require an additional application by department and the academic scholarships are typically awarded to the top 10% of the incoming class.
Pepperdine is a great school for students who value faith-based education, an international focus, a beautiful, peaceful location, and strong sense of community with students and faculty.