College can be difficult for some students, especially during those first few weeks of freshman year. However, for those attending a faith-based college, students have a leg up by having at least one thing in common with most of their peers – their faith.
“As you can imagine, it is wonderful to be surrounded by spiritually-minded faculty, staff and students while you’re making critical decisions in life. Putting your faith in a God who has your best interests in mind is sometimes easier when you’re reminded of the shared faith of those alongside of you,” explains Charles Webb, director of admissions at Lubbock Christian University (www.lcu.edu) in Lubbock, Texas.
There are a number of faith-based colleges across the United States, and while not all of the students necessarily subscribe to the faith of the school, it is often a foundational principle that you will find throughout the college campus and culture. So, if you are considering a faith-based college, be aware that faith will likely play a major role in your education.
“Some schools really embrace their Christian heritage and expect students to learn, grow and thrive in a Christian environment…Whereas other schools might simply carry the title with an expectation that [they’re] just friendlier than other schools. Know what you want out of a school and find what you need,” advises Webb. “[At LCU] we are a Christian university and there are expectations for our student body because [of that]. With that in mind, our students embrace a Christian education as a primary consideration,” he adds.
Kaleigh Jones, a freshman at Gordon College (www.gordon.edu) in Wenham, Mass., knew exactly what she was looking for in a school. She was raised in the Christian faith and attended Christian elementary and middle schools. “It wasn’t until I went to a public school in the eighth grade that I realized how much I missed the Christian influences from day to day. From [that point on] I knew that I wanted to go to a Christian college,” says Jones.
But for others, faith may not be the priority; and that’s okay. Faith-based colleges are not all “Bible” schools. In fact, while many are based on a foundation of faith, not all require any particular religious affiliation or religious studies for their students.
“You’ll find most Christian universities fall into the liberal arts college category, offering numerous choices for undergraduate degrees,” says Webb. Depending on the school you select as well as its history and tradition, you may find that the faith element is secondary to excellent academics, or vice versa.
Jones is majoring in chemistry and pre-med with a long-term goal of becoming a pathologist. For her, “The foundation of faith definitely was top priority while looking for colleges. I would not even consider a school if it wasn’t faith-based. However, after finding a few schools that fit my faith-based criteria, major and location did effect my final decision.”
Webb notes that courses at LCU are “academically rigorous.” He adds, “There’s no way around working hard for a passing score. However, we will give you every opportunity to succeed.”
Jones adds, “College is going to be difficult, but because I am attending a Christian college, I am excited to rely on my faith and God when times get rough, as opposed to other materialistic things.”
Put your faith in your ability to make the right decision when it comes to choosing that perfect college for you…and if faith is your priority, you just might find a great option in a school that values the same.
Katie Barry is the editor of NextStepU Magazine.