"When I went to City my

entire life changed..."

Sarah, Fair Oaks, CA


City on the Hill (COTH) is a project of Capitol Resource Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting and protecting Judeo-Christian values in the public square. To this end, COTH was created to give high school students a real-world, behind-the-scenes perspective into how state governments function.

While no experience is necessary, applicants must display an interest in public policy and a desire to learn about the legislative process. Those who are selected will participate in a challenging and informative week at Pepperdine University.

This program, while located at Pepperdine University, is not affiliated, sponsored or endorsed by Pepperdine University.

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Why attend
City on the Hill?

The young people who cherish life, value marriage and family, and treasure religious freedom must be able to articulate their values and understand how they can be involved in shaping culture. COTH is the vehicle to help them do just that.

COTH gives high school students a truly unique, hands-on opportunity to learn about how the Christian worldview defines our participation in the public sphere. During the week of COTH, we focus on how Christians are to approach politics, government, the law, and the media. Various speakers, workshops and activities will help you formulate a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian in public service today. All of this takes place in an action-packed, fun-filled week at Pepperdine University.

Learn the Legislative Process

At COTH, students become part of the political process! You'll join a political party, become a mock legislator, run for office, and research and debate actual bills from several state legislatures. Through this experience, students gain a thorough understanding of how a bill becomes law and what legislators do on a day-to-day basis.

Lasting Friendships

One of the best features of COTH is the opportunity to meet and fellowship with like-minded peers. The COTH staff makes it a priority to ensure that the week is filled with fun events and activities that bring students together and help you form lifelong friendships.

Think Deeply about Faith and Politics

How should we navigate the relationship between our faith and the culture at large? As Christians, what are our rights and responsibilities as citizens operating in the public square? God calls us to be a city on a hill, a light in the darkness, and at COTH we'll help you discover your role, your gifts and your passions so you can make a difference for Christ.

COTH: A Life Changing Experience

“I attended City for the first time last year. It was much better than I ever thought it would be. I met amazing people, made these amazing friends, learned about the California legislature in ways that never seemed possible, and was even motivated to graduate from high school a whole year early. I am looking forward to returning this summer.”
Halie O.
Sacramento, CA
“I’ve gone to COTH three years in a row, now, and I have to say–it was one of the best experiences in my life. Not only was I taught how to ascertain my own political agenda, but was able to meet like-minded people that I plan on knowing for quite a while. I highly recommend this, not only for the educational purposes, but for the edifying aspects of fellowship as well.”
Zachariah M.
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
“COTH helped me understand more about politics in a hands on way that was really fun. At first, I was really unsure about everything, and wary of other kids. However, the staff and alumni of the program made sure that I was welcomed in everything and helped me feel at home there. By the end, I wanted nothing but to stay and I hope every student trying it out for the first time feels the same.”
Ahwahnee , CA
“City on the Hill shaped the way I live my life and how I relate to everything and everyone around me. The principles, values, and critical thinking skills I acquired through my attendance in the first two years of COTH make me a better wife, mother, friend, employee, and citizen. America needs a City on the Hill program in every capital of every state so every young person can attend.”
Lisa E.
Eden Prairie, MN

At a Glance

Years of Experience

Our unwavering purpose over the past 37 years has been to help equip high school students with effective tools to impact their communities, engage the culture, and meet and network with like-minded students.

Student Participants

Our alumni consistently state that their experience at COTH had a transformative impact on their lives. Whether they entered the world of politics or not, the principles and lessons learned at COTH served to shape their thinking, actions, and plans for the future. We welcomed our first second-generation students in 2021, and we're excited for the COTH legacy to continue with you!


Student applications for COTH 2024 are due no later than June 14, 2024. Just click "Apply" above to access our online application, as well as the pastoral reference form (a requirement for all applicants), and helpful tips for fundraising for your COTH tuition.

We are a team of creators,

doers and problem solvers.

About Us

We're an obstinate, scrappy, eclectic squad with a love of people-focused design.

We’re fueled almost exclusively by caffeine and a tendency to say “what if...”
You’ll typically find us wielding markers in front of whiteboards, arguing by the coffee machine or hunched over a screen.


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