Peachy Keenan’s guide to normal colleges

What a time to be the parent of a high school junior or senior. (Or, in my case, both).

College-application season used to be one of nervous anticipation, glossy brochures stuffed in the mailbox, and visits to leafy campuses where cute coeds lounged on lush green lawns.

The easiest way to vet a school is to see how often it uses the word “diversity” or “inclusion” on its website. The more it uses these words, the lower your chance of getting in if your child falls on the paler side of the skin spectrum.

Now, it’s like visiting a war zone with tear gas in the air, brick buildings covered in graffiti instead of ivy, and overweight nonbinary theybies shrieking incoherently into megaphones.

What is a sane parent to do?

Looks like it’s University of Illinois!Getty Images/Warner Bros.

When I applied to college, I had virtually zero parental involvement. I mailed away for the paper applications myself, typed them up myself (on an actual typewriter), wrote my own essays (no one helped me or proofread them for me), and mailed them off.

I got into a bunch of places and ended up going to the best school I got into — yes, an Ivy League university. At the time, the school’s acceptance rate was something like 30%, and I was a legacy, and I had good grades and a high SAT score (well, very high verbal, not quite as high math).

Today, my alma mater has something like a 3% acceptance rate and is a festering hive of gender orcs, Hamas kids, Jew haters, Trump haters, white haters, communists, and nonbinary furries. The beautiful Gothic stone buildings are hidden by tents and signage year-round. Instead of watching the leaves change colors, you can just watch the signage lining the main campus walk change from BLM in fall, to Hamas in winter, to Pride in springtime.

Notorious white supremacist Ben Franklin surveys the formerly great, now totally ruined university he founded.Photo by MATTHEW HATCHER/AFP via Getty Images

You know summer’s almost here when the pink-and-blue banners are unfurled from every lamppost and flagpole! The sights and sounds on campus include the persistent drumming and chants by braindead zombie hordes screaming for “rights” they claim they don’t have — despite winning the lottery and getting a free ride to a top-ten university — and police sirens.

I would never have allowed my son to apply, let alone attend, one of these hellish places. I knew he had no shot anyway. A blessing!

So, should you give up on college and sign your smart kid up for plumber school?

No! Do not despair! You CAN launch a child successfully without dealing with the woke madrassas or with stacks of rejections thanks to their unfortunate pale skin or irreversibly straight male gender.

I spent last year learning how to apply to college in the woke era, and I am here to share what I learned. I hope this guide is helpful to you!

I’m rooting for you!Getty Images/Martin Mills

A lot of places have been publishing “alternative” lists of colleges. The “new Ivies” they call them. Do not be fooled! These lists include just as many DEI-poisoned hellholes filled with the Hamas junior league as the real Ivies.

Forbes posted an article titled: “The New Ivies: As Employers Sour On The Super-Elite, These 20 Colleges Shine.” But only two of the schools on the list made my list. The other 18 (Northwestern, University of Virginia, UT Austin, for example), have either hosted destructive Hamas summer camps or been otherwise infected with the woke mind virus and do not appear on my list. You may disagree!

My list includes schools that multiple people have recommended to me, most with firsthand experience. My list also includes some of the schools from the Cardinal Newman Society guide, a carefully vetted list of 23 “real” Catholic schools.

Note: I have not yet visited most of the places on my list, so I cannot guarantee that these schools are all 100% pristine, but I’m confident that all of these will let your child avoid the worst excesses of the culture. Tell me if I’m wrong about any of them!

I also included some schools that made my own college list because they are either big enough to accommodate normal kids or geographically blessed in a place that is mostly right-wing and Christian and therefore much less likely to tolerate rainbow terrorism. My current high school junior wants to major in engineering, so some schools with good engineering programs also made this list.

What to look for in a school

The easiest way to vet a school is to see how often it uses the word “diversity” or “inclusion” on its website. The more it uses these words, the lower your chance of getting in if your child falls on the paler side of the skin spectrum.

For example, our local state system, the University of California, rejected my star student this spring, as did USC. In fact, no white kid I know got into a single UC school this year! A few did get waitlisted at UC Merced, the bottom feeder of the UCs.

Ten or 15 years ago, all of these kids would have waltzed into their pick of the UCs. That era is over for good. Step two is to find out if a school forces students to share a dorm room with a trans student who is the opposite gender. The UC schools force you to dorm with the opposite sex, for example, based on whatever gender a person identifies as.

Can you imagine forcing your daughter to sleep in a tiny dorm room with a full-grown man? I guess liberal parents think this is totally fine. Maybe they give their daughters ear plugs so she won’t have to listen to her roommate dilating his front hole three times a day.

There is another way!

Without further ado, here is my list of high quality, excellent, and mostly or totally unwoke colleges:

‘Real’ Catholic colleges

For when you absolutely, positively want grandchildren one day

Getty Images/Jeff Greenberg

Ave Maria University (Ave Maria, Florida)

I know a wonderful man who met his wife here and married young. I’ve heard great things about it, and its location can’t be beat.

Benedictine College (Atchison, Kansas)

An adorable Catholic college about an hour west of Kansas City, Missouri. It has football, a pretty campus, and people tell me their kids love it. To me, the only downside is the acceptance rate, which is like 99%. But maybe that’s because it’s small and self-selects for people who really want to go here. Go Ravens!

Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula, California, plus a second campus in Massachusetts)

This is the “trad” Catholic college of California. A lovely campus tucked away in the hills near Ojai, TAC (as grads call it) produces graduates who are fiercely loyal alumni and who tend to send their children and grandchildren here. I went to a wedding at the gorgeous chapel here last year, and it was as trad as it gets. Full Latin mass in all its glory. A “great books” school, so not the right fit for hard-science people, but a lot of grads go on to the law, academia, business — and parenthood. If you want your child engaged by graduation, TAC is a goldmine.

Christendom College (Front Royal, Virginia)

TAC’s country cousin. By all accounts, a fun and engaging place to be. Wonderful president.

Franciscan University of Steubenville (Steubenville, Ohio)

TAC’s upper-Midwestern cousin. My friends have sent their children here, and all report that it is a wonderful place with kids who are deeply and energetically Catholic.

University of Mary (Bismarck, North Dakota — !)

Colder than a steer’s tuchus in January. There are tunnels students use to get from place to place when it’s negative 40 degrees outside. Students I know who attend love this school and have no regrets. It boasts a wonderful nursing program and an enthusiastic student body. If you can brave the tundra, you can have a lovely four years here.

Wyoming Catholic College (Lander, Wyoming)

I know people who left California to live in Lander to be close to this school. This is a school for kids who love the great American outdoors. All students get an “outdoor” education along with book learnin’ and get to enjoy all sorts of adventures in nature. Some major bonding opportunities in a gorgeous, fairly remote, setting.

University of Saint Thomas (Houston, Texas)

TAC on the Gulf. An excellent “great books” school for future writers, philosophers, and academics. Comes highly recommended for smart kids.

University of Dallas (Dallas, Texas)

My son visited this school and loved it. I’ve met over a dozen parents and alumni who rave about UD. It offers a complete college curriculum with a wide variety of majors. If you want to take part in a lively Catholic campus in a big city, UD is a great bet. Warning: It’s pricey, but it gives generous merit scholarships to good students.

Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.)

What Notre Dame isn’t. A big, full-service Catholic university in the heart of D.C. It features the National Shrine, which is a splendid church. Students I’ve known who went here loved it.

(Not included: Notre Dame University and Boston College, since their Catholic identities have been watered down into mush.)

Other amazing colleges

Getty Images/Chris duMond

Hillsdale College (Hillsdale, Michigan)

Hillsdale is on its way to becoming the elite school of “the right.” The students I know who are there or attended are smart and accomplished people. It’s officially a “nondenominational” Christian school, but I’ve heard that the number of Catholic students is skyrocketing. There are a lot of campus conversions — and engagements. It doesn’t just teach you to be a political pundit, either — it has a variety of majors, including fine arts, pre-med, and the sciences. Be warned: It doesn’t accept any federal funding, so your FAFSA money and scholarships are no good here, but that also means it can safely ignore federal rules on transgender people in girls’ locker rooms. It has a very competitive 20% admissions rate that I predict will be shrinking fast. Get in while you still can!

Texas A&M (College Station, Texas)

This one has it all: amazing college football, hordes of cute college kids, majors in everything under the sun, and according to friends and alumni, a huge and robust Catholic community. It’s a big school in a small town and probably a great place to spend four years. For out-of-staters, it’s pricey, like all excellent state schools, but it might be worth it to avoid the smoking wreckage of other formerly great football schools like U of Michigan (super woke) and USC (which just cancelled graduation to bend the knee to the Hamas kids).

Purdue University (Purdue, Indiana)

On my radar because of its excellent engineering department, pretty campus, and still-pretty-normal student body. I did see some Purdue BLM protests during the wild days of the Floydpocalypse, but I’m guessing that stuff is probably easy to avoid here, especially if you’re hanging out with the science nerds. We plan to apply next year!

University of Tennessee (Knoxville)

My Tennessee friends and family report that this school is where a lot of locals go and love. Knoxville is more conservative than Nashville, so maybe you’re safe here. And, of course, it’s where Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds has taught for many years and has spoken highly of. Might just give it a shot! Bonus: The engineering department is called “Tickle.”

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)

Roll Tide! I still don’t know what that means, but maybe if I sent a kid here they would tell me! My friend, the Fox News host Trace Gallagher, sends both his California daughters here, and he told me they absolutely love it. Football, lots of majors, and a culture that seems immune to the rainbow orcs. ‘Bama rush seems slightly intense, but the campus is big enough that I think you’d have fun without joining the Greeks.

Honorable mention

The following schools were all recommended to me on X or by friends and family, and some are now on our list for next year. I have not done a deep dive on them yet, so I will update this post when I learn more. But I am told they deliver a high-quality education without Hama**holes or trann**s in your face. A lot of these are in the South, for obvious reasons. Is the former confederacy the last best hope for American civilization? Maybe the South is the last bastion of Americanness, where wokeness will finally be sent to its grave. One can dream!

Clemson UniversityGetty Images/Maddie Meyer

Clemson University

Auburn University

University of South Carolina (the “other” USC)

University of Florida, Gainesville

University of Utah (the Mormons run a tight ship!)

Rose Hulman (just engineering)


North Carolina State (great engineering department)

Colorado School of Mines

Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech (VERY hard, maybe too hard, to get into)

Boise State

Did I miss your favorite school? Do you beg to differ with my choices? Please leave a reply in the comments, and let me know!

Thanks for reading, and good luck next fall. We are all going to need it.

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