3 Ways to Develop "Applicable Excellence" at Patrick Henry College

Posted by Leo Briceno on 8/5/19 2:00 PM


By nurturing a mentality of excellence, Patrick Henry College encourages its students to excel in, out of, and far beyond the classroom.

Excellence isn’t a grade, it isn’t a memorization technique, and it certainly isn’t just  good study habits—those are the results; they’re expressions of something bigger and better. 

Patrick Henry College and its leadership believe that applicable excellence is a mindset that doesn’t stop at “good enough.”  It’s the challenge to do one’s best regardless of circumstance or activity. Whether it’s in playing the guitar, sweeping a floor, or taking the LSAT, Patrick Henry College seeks to encourage its students to do the most with the moment in front of them.

But how does PHC foster that kind of mentality? One thing’s for certain; it’s not something you can learn in a class or a perspective you can adopt from a self-help book.

Here are three ways the Patrick Henry College experience brings out the best in its students.

A Community that Drives and Inspires Participants

PHC is full of remarkable students. It’s a driven community with ambitious and energetic individuals. When midterm season comes around, conversations about exam preparations, strategies for papers, and outline memorization fill the dining hall. It’s a buzz of excitement to meet the oncoming challenge. And it's infectious.

Students encourage one another to reach for excellence. From one student to another, the willingness to try—and to try hard—is passed around in hallways and dorms, one day at a time.

A Faculty that Sets High Standards 

A standard of excellence, however fruitful and effective it might be, must have a source. Someone has to set the bar. At Patrick Henry College, that’s largely the professors.

There are some notoriously hard classes at PHC. There are tests with eight different multiple-choice options, there are 20-page papers, and there are hundreds of chapters of ancient literature to read. The professors have carefully and meticulously engineer their classes to push students and grow them in what they’re able to do. But they know it’s hard. They aren’t ambivalent or apathetic about their students and are constantly on the lookout to help them succeed.

Students have often found both refuge and advice in the office of teachers, looking for guidance and a path to improvement. Both from the advice they're able to give and their years of personal experience, professors continuously inspire students to meet various personal and academic challenges.

A Philosophy of Education

It’s not an accident that PHC puts such a great emphasis on excellence. Philippians 4:8 reads “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there is any excellence think about these things.” Paul exhorts his readers to consciously set their minds on excellence. That’s because it doesn’t happen naturally; it’s hard and it has to be done actively.

A large part of the education at PHC is about setting student’s minds on the good, the true, and the beautiful. Setting one's focus on excellence isn’t easy and, again, doesn’t happen by accident. The founders of the college purposefully created PHC with the idea that they could train students to compete with the best, but only if they focused on things worth thinking and studying about. 


By making use of these three different aspects of life at Patrick Henry College, students can learn to apply excellence to their own lives. While it's ultimately up to the participants to make the most of their time at PHC, the community, the leadership, and the philosophy of education behind the college will continuously point students to bigger and better things.

 To learn more about an education at PHC, click here!

PHC's 3 Distinctives

Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.