Many high school students want to attend a Christian college because they want to earn their degree in a place that honors their beliefs. However, they also want to make sure that they attend a school with a strong academic reputation so that they can get a job when they graduate. When it comes to academics, some Christian colleges excel more than others. Accreditation is one clue, but it does not tell the whole story. To find out if a Christian college’s academics are up to par, you will need to ask the right questions.
Ask About Professors’ Qualifications
The more knowledge the professors have, the more they will be able to pass onto their students. If you want to study medicine or hard science, ask “What percentage of professors have doctorate degrees?” If you want to study music or the arts, find out if any of the professors in those programs used to be professional artists or musicians. And if you want to become a pastor or go into the mission field, you want to study under professors who have experience in the ministry. High standards for professors means high standards for students.
Ask About Student/Professor Interaction
While it is important that a school has a highly knowledgeable faculty, you will not be able to take full advantage of their knowledge if you never have opportunities to interact with them. Ask if freshman classes are taught by professors or by teaching assistants. Ask about the average class size for both upper and lower level classes, and about how much interaction undergrads have with tenured professors. At some Christian colleges, your professors become your friends because you spend so much time together. At others, the only time you see your professors is from your seat in a crowded lecture hall.
Ask About Program Requirements
Are admission requirements stricter for some programs than they are for others? Stricter requirements for a particular program generally indicates academic strength in that area. For example, schools with excellent music programs tend to have strict admission requirements for music majors. Also, do seniors complete a capstone project as a requirement for graduation? Requiring students to complete major projects indicates that the school places high emphasis on imparting skills sets rather than simply achieving high test scores.
Ask About Alumni Success
One way to determine a school’s academic strengths is to look at what its graduates are doing. What percentage of students continue on to graduate schools? What is the job placement rate of graduates? If graduates have difficulty finding work in their field of study, it may indicate that the school is not adequately preparing them for the workforce. If a relatively small percentage of alumni achieve graduate degree, perhaps the school is not attracting a high caliber of students.
Some Christian colleges meet or exceed the academic requirements of major secular Universities while others leave something to be desired. Before you decide which Christian College to attend, do some research. Ask the right questions to find out a Christian school’s academic strengths.