See what students say:


A rural liberal arts college in southern Illinois, Principia College is known for "creating an environment for Christian Scientists to thrive and connect with each other [through] a character-based education." Principia's mission is "to serve the Cause of Christian Science through appropriate channels open to it as an educational institution." Students say "Principia College [. . .] works to educate students to form well-rounded viewpoints of the arts, social sciences, and natural sciences" by "teaching a variety of perspectives, ensuring student success through personal support, and fostering a sense of love." Students report that professors are "very approachable and wonderful to work with." They "do their best to bring learning to life" and recognize that "learning is not entirely lecture-based." One biology major raves about the "focus on hands-on learning" and describes the "many opportunities to learn field techniques and to practice field research on our 2,500-acres of campus (mostly forest, also several tallgrass prairie restorations, and other habitats)." The school emphasizes "character education in all aspects of your life: academics, athletics, extracurriculars, church, abroad activities and everyday life," and maintains rigorous academic standards. One undergrad sums up the student-focused academics at Principia: "My professors are highly invested in my success while maintaining a high standard for my performance. [. . .] School is very difficult, however the professors are always accessible if you have any questions."

Student Body

Principia students bond with one another through a strong sense of community: "The student body at Principia is wonderful, because we all share the same bond through Christian Science. Much of the support comes through the student body and you know you can trust each one of your peers." Many Principia students are "creative and artistic, [and] most of them are musicians or artists of some kind." Students are encouraging and caring of one another: "They are always offering loving support in any situation and encourage me to be better than I was the day before," one student explains. Many students enjoy and are "involved in a variety of sporting activities outside of academics." Most students are white and "out of the 500 students in campus, at least 100 of them are international [students]" according to one student's estimate. "Principia students are diverse in their interests and their degrees of academic focus. We have highly driven students as well as successful and motivated student athletes."

Campus Life

Much of school life is studying, at Principia College, but students do have time to "relax with friends while catching up on our favorite TV shows." "The area we live in is rather dull in terms of entertainment," one student tells us, so "our student body often rallies together to create activities to entertain the campus." Students are "allowed to and even encouraged to participate in sports, clubs, student government, academic programs, advanced classes, community service, work, and everything in between, all without losing the option to have a strong social life with close friends." St. Louis is nearby for students with cars as well as Alton "if you don't want to drive as far. Alton is a small town, but definitely has some fun places and great food joints." Principia's "athletic teams are awesome. [. . .] After practices or games the team usually all goes to the pub to eat burgers and shakes that are amazing."

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Brett Grimmer
Networking and Outreach Strategist

Office of Admissions & Financial Aid
1 Maybeck Place
Elsah, IL 62028



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Piasa Pub
Hay Field House
Crafton Athletic Center
Science Center
Voney Art Studio

Most Popular Places Off Campus
STL Cardinals Busch Stadium
Forest Park
St. Louis Zoo
STL Galleria Mall
St. Louis Art Museum
Maeva's Coffee Shop and Post Commons Coffee, both located in Alton, IL. Raging Rivers Waterpark in Grafton, IL. The Loading Dock outdoor ice rink in Grafton, IL.

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center
8 am-5 pm

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions
Not Available


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice
2 weeks

Contact Email Address for Visit

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Visiting Center

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays

Contact Visiting Center

Prospects must be Christian Scientists


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
St. Louis Lambert Airport is 35 miles from campus, and an Amtrak station is 14 miles from campus. Official visitors with pre-arranged visiting plans with our College Weekend Coordinator will be picked up at the airport or train station by a Principia driver. Other visitors may call the Champagne Limousine Service at 618-466-7001.

Driving Instructions to Campus
From I-270 North/East exit at US 367 North towards Alton. Cross the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers into Alton and follow the Great River Road to Elsah (11 miles). Follow signs to Principia (1 mile). From I-70 west take I-270 West. Exit I-270 at Route 3 North towards Alton. Continue on Route 3 (The Great River Road) to Route 143. Continue following the Great River Road to Elsah -- about 11 miles. From I-55 South, exit Illinois Route 16 at Litchfield and head west toward Jerseyville (about 30 miles). In Jerseyville, take Illinois Route 267 to Illinois Route 109 South out of Jerseyville. Turn right after 8 miles (note sign to Grafton) before Route 109 ends and joins Route 3. Travel 3 miles and watch for a small green sign to Elsah and Principia College. Turn left at the sign and travel 3 miles through Elsah to the 4-way stop. Turn left and drive up the hill one mile to Principia.

Local Accommodations
Please call Admissions for a full listing of accommodations.


Applicants: 149
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Average HS GPA: 3.37



Tuition & Aid

Student Body

Campus Life

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