I recently visited Pepperdine University in the Malibu area of Los Angeles, where I toured the campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Pepperdine is affiliated with the Churches of Christ and has a pronounced Christian focus: students must attend chapel multiple times each semester, complete three religion courses (Old Testament, New Testament, Christian Culture) and abstain from overnight dorm visits. The campus is dry, and Bible study is a popular social activity. 70% of students are Christian. Mental and emotional support is provided in part by a spiritual life advisor.

· Engagement with a church community in high school is a plus, so highlight this on your application if applicable. If a student is a member of the Churches of Christ, their minister can submit a letter of recommendation and they may be eligible for a special scholarship.

· The average class size is 19 and there are no TAs. 35% of faculty live on campus, often inviting students into their homes for Bible study. Students participate in research as early as freshman year.

· Business is the most popular and well-known program. Students can complete a joint 5-year BA-MBA, all at Pepperdine.

· The communications major is also popular, and there is a student broadcasting network on campus.

· On-campus housing is required the first two years and optional (but not difficult to secure) the final two years.

Pepperdine’s Malibu location – set in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean – counts among its greatest assets.