Christian Colleges: Does the Spirit Move You?
ALTHOUGH SOME STUDENTS KNOW they want to attend a faith-based college, others are unclear about what that entails. To help clarify, we posed some frequently asked questions to experts at four Christian colleges.
WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE?
“A Christian college provides a strong faith-based foundation in which to experience both challenges and personal growth,” says Steve Landgraf, undergraduate admission counselor
at Concordia University Chicago (IL). “Our mission is to equip young
men and women to serve and lead our diverse society with integrity, creativity, competence and compassion.”
“Our focus is not only to equip students with the skills to become leaders in their career fields, but also to show them how to take their faith into those careers,” says Brendan Hegarty, operations coordinator for resident enrollment at Liberty University (VA). “Every student is prayed for daily by student leadership and that shared faith establishes a professor-student dynamic that prioritizes students as more than just a number.”
HOW IS FAITH WOVEN INTO ACADEMICS AND CAMPUS LIFE?
“Most Christian colleges offer a wide variety of liberal arts courses and secular fields of study,” explains Landgraf. “However, Christian colleges usually also offer majors that focus on theology or careers in church work, and those programs will focus heavily on religion.”
“We integrate faith into everything we do,” says Johnmark Smith, assistant director of recruitment for undergraduate admissions at Wheaton College (IL). “Sometimes that may be as overt as having a class begin with prayer, but it is always present as an underlying question and motivation
to our studies.”
WHAT ABOUT ATTENDING CHAPEL AND GOING ON MISSIONS?
Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) students are expected to attend a total of 96 campus chapel services over their four years. “Although a missions experience is not required for graduation from OBU,” explains Carrie Myles, executive director of the Milburn Center and director of academic advising at OBU, “many of our students participate in weekly local mission opportunities and international mission trips during the summer or during our January term.”
Students at Wheaton are required to attend chapel three times a week, though there are 11 “skips” permitted per semester for health issues, travel or other unexpected needs. In addition, more than 30 different ministries take place each year. “Students serve locally tutoring refugee students, evangelizing in the local community and ministering at retirement homes and hospitals,” Smith explains.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH MY DEGREE?
At Liberty, the most popular undergraduate majors are business administration, psychology, religion and education. “Our graduates have found jobs with the U.S. Senate, Google, ESPN, Discovery Channel … and more,” says Hegarty.
“The breadth and depth of our offerings of degrees and majors are very comparable to a secular college,” says Myles. “Our students are challenged to think critically as they integrate faith with their discipline, whether that is business, nursing, education or religion.”
At Wheaton, 96 percent of graduates are employed six months after graduation. “Every year we send a large number of students on to medical school, law school, seminary and other graduate programs,” says Smith. “Many students pursue careers in the business and financial world … [and] we also send graduates around the world to engage in ministry, missions and nonprofit work.”
Now that you’re up to speed, feel free to apply to a Christian college … if the spirit moves you!