There was a time when attending a Christian college carried with it a certain negative stigma. At the time, what might have been good enough for a pious few certainly wasn’t good enough for the masses. Besides being branded due to the obvious religious influence, the perceptions that accompanied “Christian college” included small, less than the best instructors/instruction, less than quality facilities, and much more. For years there have been notable exceptions, including Baylor, Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Georgetown, and others, but by and large this stigma has persisted, until now.
Eye of the Beholder
A considerable amount of the credit due for this turn-around is in the marketing department. Thanks to the more aggressive approaches being taken by the marketing folks in these institutions, the reputations as well as the fortunes of Christian colleges have sky-rocketed. Factors that were once considered negatives in the eye of the public were being reevaluated and sold as positives. These factors include small class sizes, less focus on extracurricular activities and others.
In short order college marketing gurus had changed what were negatives in the minds of many into positives to those who became disenchanted with huge classes, impersonal instruction, over-emphasis on athletics, and other factors. The result was a renewed interest in Christian education an a viable and quality option.
A Generous Few
Another important factor in the growth of Christian colleges has been the generosity of many donors, especially among the well-monied elect. Instead of giving to their own alma maters, these donors have not only made Christian colleges the benefactors of their generosity, but they have specifically targeted those institutions that were struggling financially to breathe new life into them.
Thanks primarily to these donors not only have these colleges been able to spruce up their once aging campuses, but they have in many cases been able to expand exponentially. As a result, what were once small schools with limited options, have now become major players when it comes time to recruit the best faculty members and the brightest students intent on expanding their own prospects. Another benefit of this is parents and others who more willingly send their money with their offspring more willingly than in the past.
In the final analysis, the money-which-brings-in-students-which brings-in-more-money dilemma falls by the wayside as the benefits eventually lead to not only better educations for everyone, but the truth is that everyone does benefit. Students are afforded better educations. Colleges enjoy providing more options with their growth. Communities benefit from the growth of their Christian college neighbors. And the overall image of the Christian college as a viable educational option benefits everyone.