5 Differences Between Christian Colleges and Public Colleges

Christian Colleges and Public Colleges

  • Class Size
  • Courses and Majors Offered
  • Social Life and Extracurricular Activities
  • Cost
  • Relationship with Staff and Faculty

When perusing options for higher education, many students find themselves stuck at a fork in the road choosing between Christian or public college. If you are among the many trying to make this decision, it is helpful to understand the true differences between the two paths. Here are five primary differences between Christian colleges and public colleges.

1. Class Size

Classes at Christian colleges tend to be smaller than classes at public colleges. This is partly because only a certain type of individual is either comfortable with or actively in search of a college experience grounded in the specific Christian faith. It is also partly because most Christian university administrators feel that a lower student to faculty ratio is important for building stronger connections, which is part of the mission of many Christian colleges. Forbes offers a helpful guide for choosing the best Christian college for students.

5 Differences Between Christian Colleges and Public Colleges

2. Courses and Majors Offered

Christian colleges offer many of the same majors available at public colleges except for some of the specializations and advanced courses. At Christian colleges, religious and Christian studies are the specialization that may be substituted for others at a public college. Christian colleges alone also offer the opportunity to study secular topics through the lens of Christianity.

3. Social Life and Extracurricular Activities

Life outside the classroom is also different between Christian and public colleges. Christian colleges typically work harder to hold their students to a certain level of conduct that aligns with the Christian faith. The strictest institutions mandate their students to sign a conduct contract complete with consequences for breaking the contract. Students will find more college-sponsored Bible studies and other religious social groups at Christian colleges, which many feel makes it easier to maintain their faith practices amidst their academic and other social goals.

4. Cost

As with most private institutions of higher education, Christian colleges are more expensive on average than public colleges. The extra tuition covers the cost of the additional faith-based resources and makes up for the fact that these colleges do not receive certain types of public education funding. The increased tuition makes it possible for Christian colleges to maintain their lower student to faculty ratios. The good news is with fewer students applying for scholarships specific to these Christian colleges and general faith-based scholarships, there is more of this type of funding to go around.

5. Relationship with Staff and Faculty

Perhaps the biggest difference between Christian and public colleges is the type of relationships students have with staff and faculty. Staff and faculty at Christian colleges serve as academic mentors as much as they do at any other college. The difference is that they also play the role of spiritual and religious mentors. It is possible to achieve this at public colleges, as well, but the smaller class sizes and focus on spiritual growth built into the Christian college experiences makes the process a bit more natural.

Related Resource: 50 Most Beautiful Christian Colleges in the U.S.

A common misconception is that attending a Christian college means sacrificing the traditional college experience. In reality, Christian colleges offer a wide variety of majors, rich social environments, and quality educations, same as any public college. The main difference is in the opportunity to participate in college life and prepare for your career in the company of staff, faculty and peers who share a belief in the Christian faith.