College can be an amazing experience, but some Christian students at secular colleges may be faced with extra challenges. Polls are revealing that fewer freshman identify with organized religion, so religious students may be surprised to find students with such differing beliefs. In addition to the everyday stress of furthering one’s education, students must also learn how to adapt to a new, secular environment. Before choosing a school, it is important to consider the issues that may arrive.
Social life may be limited
Making new friends is an important aspect of going to school. At a secular school, some religious students find it difficult to enjoy the same activities as other students. Partying, underage drinking, and casual relationships are becoming more and more standard at many universities, and this may make religious students avoid social situations based on morals and Christian standards. It may also make some students feel left out, as it may be harder to find others that enjoy the same activities.
Classes and religious activities may be scheduled at the same time
Although classes are not scheduled for Sunday morning church services, there may be some important class related activities than could prevent attendance at church. Many churches offer Wednesday evening services, which could easily clash with an evening class schedule. Study groups are formed to help prepare for exams, and some professors hold office hours at strange times. Any of these activities could require a student to miss out on religious services.
Support systems are critical when attending a university
Many students find this time of their life to be especially challenging, because they are away from their family and friends, and they are suddenly having new experiences and trying to adapt. While church families can offer a lot of support, students may find it difficult to develop a support system on campus. It can be tricky to find others who are able to relate to religious beliefs and how that impacts the way others think about life. Sometimes, it is best to discuss issues with people who have the same belief system.
College professors may push their own beliefs
During some courses, students can find that the coursework does not agree with their own personal beliefs. Science professors may disagree with religious beliefs about Earth’s creation and the beginning of mankind. Psychology professors may talk about relationships in a very casual way, acting as if marriage and monogamy are outdated ideas. Students should be aware that they could be exposed to very different ideas than what they have learned in the Bible.
Time for prayer and devotionals will become limited
At religious schools, students are encouraged to pray, worship, and take time for daily devotionals. In a secular school, students are independently responsible for making these things a priority in their own life, and they should not expect this to be commonplace for all students.
Attending college is an amazing opportunity to become more independent and learn about other beliefs and cultures. Students should understand that it may be difficult to find like-minded friends right away. Because many schools have religious clubs and organizations, it is possible to find a group of friends that share your religious beliefs. This group can really help overcome challenges that Christian students at secular colleges face.