The student experience at a Christian college does tend to hold some differences from that of a secular college. Most find these differences pleasant, while those who find religion disagreeable in general may feel somewhat out of place in such setting. So, what exactly are some of the variations one may expect from a Christian university that are not seen in other schools?
In Christian colleges, students can expect to learn just as much about a core subject as at any other college, but in addition to this, students will also learn a fair amount of Bible-based material. One way that Christian schools incorporate these additional teachings into student learning is through the inclusion of actual Bible-based classes into the curriculum, regardless of the core curriculum’s major. For example, an engineering student may be required to complete a 60-credit engineering curriculum in order to graduate, just as at any other school. However, at the Christian college, that same student may find that a small portion of those credits must come from exclusively Bible-based classes which are not directly connected with the science of engineering. In these types of courses, the student will typically learn about basic teachings and components of the Bible and be required to test and write about the subject matter satisfactorily.
Religious Incorporation Into Classwork
Aside from some entire classes built around the Bible, Christian and biblical concepts are peppered all throughout most otherwise unrelated coursework. For example, the same engineering student we mention above will likely find references and tie-ins of biblical concepts in any of his or her science, math, and even elective courses. The primary focus is certainly not shifted from the main subject being taught to religious matters, but the tie-ins and various connections are there and included in assignments, class activities, and so on.
Religious Service Attendance
Christian colleges may require, or strongly encourage, students to attend weekly religious services. These schools typically have a church or chapel on campus, providing easy access for students to attend services. They may also allow students to attend a church of their choosing off-campus. According to an article published in the Sociology of Religion , students who regularly attend religious services are more satisfied with their college experience and achieve greater academic achievement.
Religion in Extracurricular Events
Extracurricular events headed by Christian schools also carry varying degrees of religious connection. Sports, clubs, and even sororities can be seen operating to some degree or another with religious connection. This could range from prayer at activities to strict rules of conduct for participants. The degree to which Christianity is reflected in these activities, however, varies based on the school, as well as the individuals managing the activity.
Religion in School Themes
As one can start to see, religion as an overall theme can be expected at a Christian college. The football team mascot will likely involve religion. Clothing, key chains, art and symbols, theme songs, and other forms of school-wares and symbolism will also likely relate to Christian values. In addition, school staff and their decision-making processes, as well as much of the student culture, will also incorporate a solid dose of Christian method and belief.
There are definite differences in the ways that Christian and otherwise non-religious school operate and even “feel” to the student. For those neutral to or actively subscribed to Christianity or similar religious tenets, such an experience may just be the perfect fit.