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If you got paid you ten dollars every time someone asked, “what are your plans after graduation?” you’d probably have enough money to pay for college! If you’re a junior or senior in high school, chances are you’ve started doing a little college research. But how do you determine if Christian college is right for you? And how do you know the best Christian college, with so many options to choose from?
Why Christian College?
Your college years are some of the most formative years of your life. During those four years you’ll be deciding what to study, which career path to pursue, where to live after college and possibly even who you’ll eventually marry. Implementing faith into these decisions is wise and obviously important! It’s also the first time in life when you’ll be living on your own, outside of the direct influence of your parents.
The people with whom you interact—whether friends, roommates, teachers, or coaches–will begin to carry even more influence than before, so it follows that you’ll want to be surrounded by as many solid people as possible. Christian college offers an abundance of opportunity to stay grounded in the values that matter to you most, and to be guided into adulthood with a biblical worldview as your road map.
Types of Christian College
There are three basic types of Christian college: faith-based college, discipleship colleges and Bible colleges. At a faith-based college, you are not necessarily required to sign a “statement of faith” about what you believe. Though faculty and staff may sign such a document, showing their agreement with the school’s tenants of faith, it’s not necessary that everyone attending the college be a Christian or agree with the school’s religious leanings. These colleges have a more open attendance policy and are happy to include those who are simply interested in seeking spiritual answers, or who are attending the college for personal, not religious reasons.
A discipleship college requires that faculty, staff, and students sign a statement of faith and often a lifestyle statement, as well, showing that you agree with the Christian doctrines of that college, and that you are willing to abide by certain Christian lifestyle guidelines. These colleges may require or strongly encourage some sort of ongoing discipleship or mentoring relationship to prioritize and facilitate spiritual growth. They may also require a certain number of credits in Bible classes to graduate. And finally, we come to a Bible college which is more specified yet.
The focus of a Bible college is to train those who feel called to some sort of full-time ministry. While faith-based and discipleship schools tend to include majors for many career fields, most Bible colleges offer a narrower range of majors aimed at equipping future pastors, missionaries, counselors, or teachers for these specialized areas of service. As you begin to do your college research, it will be helpful to try and distinguish which category the different Christian colleges on your list fall into. And knowing which type of Christian college appeals to you most will help begin to answer the question: what is the best Christian college for me?
Researching Christian Colleges
If you haven’t started researching Christian colleges, websites such as Christian Connector (https://christianconnector.com) offer you a great place to kick off the exciting process! Christian Connector helps you manage your search process by narrowing down your search based on factors such as location. For example: are you primarily interested in attending Christian college in the Midwest?
Christian Connector allows you to focus in on the Christian colleges within a specific region. Are you interested in seeing which Christian colleges you might attend in Florida? We have information about particular Christian colleges within the state of Florida (and lots of other states, too). Maybe you’re concerned about price. Not a problem! Christian Connector allows you to compare prices of different Christian colleges without having to visit tons of different websites. It’s all right here at your fingertips! https://christianconnector.com
Factors to Consider
In addition to location and price, some of the other factors to consider when trying to figure out the best Christian college for your future might include things like size. Do you like the intimacy of a small campus and the sense of being known, or are you looking for all the opportunities that come with attending a larger college? You might check out the student-faculty ratio, especially if you learn best with a more personalized classroom size. You’ll also want to research which programs and majors are offered at each Christian college. Some majors are a little more unique..
Some majors are a little more unique. If you want to study Animation or Aviation, for example, you’ll need to research which Christian colleges offer these focused degree programs. If you haven’t decided exactly what you want to study, it might be important that the colleges you’re looking at have your top two or three majors in case you end up changing direction as you go (which is a common occurrence).
Maybe you value having a rigorous academic environment or know you would thrive in an honors program. You may want to check into the accreditation of the colleges on your list to ensure they’re meeting up to the quality standards important to you. If you’re looking for specific sports or extracurricular opportunities, finding a college to match these criteria might be high on your list of priorities, as well.
These are just some of the factors to consider when doing college research to find which Christian college fits your needs. Once you’ve done your online research, it’s a good idea to make a list of your top “best Christian college” options and begin making plans to visit as many of these as possible. There is nothing like a college visit to get a feel for things. There’s something irreplaceable about seeing the dorms, hanging out in the bookstore or rec hall, eating in the cafeteria, or attending a chapel service or class.
As you take your tours, make sure and ask lots of questions (and don’t be afraid to jot down your impressions afterwards) and take every opportunity to connect with current students or alumni of the schools on your list. They’ll be a wealth of information as they talk about their own college experience. Chatting with these individuals will inevitably help you make sense of your search for the best Christian college and the exact place God has for your future!