The college years are formative for any student, so the choice of where attend feels important. For some students, a desire to nurture and grow their faith factors into decision making. Once you’ve made the decision to attend a Christian college, you may be wondering how to find out more about its programs and how to discern which of its programs are the strongest.
Do Your Research
First, it’s important to recall that a Christian college is, in many regards, just like any other college or university you could attend. The main difference between a Christian and secular college is that a Christian college intentionally bases its mission, vision and values upon a commitment to the Christian faith. Depending on its historic affiliation, a college may also find its core commitments shaped by a specific Christian tradition. The faculty at a Christian college may likely subscribe to a statement of faith and be committed to bringing elements of the faith into classroom discussion and to helping students learn to apply their faith to a variety of learning and life situations.
So the first answer to how you can find out what a Christian college’s strongest programs are is an answer that would be the same no matter what kind of college you attended: do your research. Visit the school, pore over the catalog, talk to professors and current students and set up time to discuss things openly with an admissions counselor. If you know your preferred major, see if you can set up time to talk with a faculty member in the department or a current student enrolled in the program.
Specifically Christian Programs
But you may be wondering specifically about programs that are unique to a Christian college. While many universities have programs in religious studies, Christian colleges may have unique offerings that you’re especially interested in pursuing. Theology, Biblical Studies, Youth Ministry, Missions, Cultural Studies and Social Justice courses may all be possible emphases to look into. Certain Christian colleges, again shaped partly by their historical traditional affiliation, may be especially strong in one or more of those areas. One of the best ways to find out more about those kinds of commitments is to read up on the history of the school. If Missions or Youth Ministry has long been a part of the school’s “DNA,” there’s a good chance that their programs in such fields will be strong. Look at “The 19 types of Christians” to see where you fall and which program will be the best match for you.
When evaluating any program of study at a college, it may be a good idea to take note of several elements: the size of the faculty, the faculty to student ratio and whether or not the desired course of study provides internships or other immersive study opportunities. Good colleges will likely have a career services staff that can help you evaluate programs and think about your future from the time you arrive on campus. If the college you choose has strength across a diversity of programs, you will likely feel more relaxed about making your initial choices because you’ll feel confident about having other programs to fall back on if your decide to change your course of study mid-way through your school career.