So You Want to Pick a Christian College. Here’s One Thing to Remember
Posted January 24th, 2018
You’ve just turned 17 and bought your first car. Life is finally starting to get a little routine, especially now that you’ve completed some high school courses and started your first job. If you’ve been thinking about attending a Christian college after high school, there are a lot of questions to consider. Which major should you pursue–and does the college even offer it? Should you look at a college out of state, or close to home? Do you attend the same college as your friends, or should you “go it alone” and pursue a brand new college somewhere new?
As someone who has helped my kids pick a college and toured several institutions in recent years, there is one thing that tends to distinguish one college from another.
Sure, the majors provided are important. You can’t exactly pursue a career in youth ministry if the college doesn’t even offer that degree. And location is certainly important. Yet, the one thing that seemed to come up over and over again is this simple truth: you have to get to know the professors you’ll have, at least to some small degree. Facilities, location, the majors–while they are all important, it really does come down to the adults who will stand in front of you in the classroom. How they relay their knowledge to you will make all of the difference.
I remember talking to my daughter recently about this topic. Not to get into any details, but the two mentors she found in college were both initially her professors. They helped her in ways that were more valuable than any textbook, more important than having a workout room on her dorm floor, and more memorable than any experience on an athletic field.
This is not to minimize the importance of athletics, or a wonderful campus setting. I recommend keeping a running list of the things that really matter to you, and to think seriously about how much you want to pick the same Christian college as your friends or if you really care about the nursing program. After all, you are aiming to complete a lofty goal–to enroll in a college, to eventually complete the major, and then to get a job in your chosen field.
What I’m saying is for me, the most important part of choosing a college is that you will spend time with caring adults who will guide you in ways you might not even realize. I had professors who really cared about me–one had a daughter named Rachel, and I named my firstborn daughter after her. She would invite us to her home and serve us meals. It was only loosely-related to the English classes I was taking at the time (and loosely-connected to the fact that my future wife was in the same class). I don’t remember the textbook. I don’t remember in which wing of the building the class met. I don’t remember anything except that the professor cared, and she wanted me to succeed.
I love how 2 Timothy 2:2 describes it: “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” That verse has guided me ever since college, but it can also serve nicely as a recipe for how to pick a college. Are the professors there to check in and check out like you’re a number? Do they talk to you outside of class? Do they even know your name? Maybe it’s a longer visit on campus, or asking the right questions, or really getting to know someone who currently attends or who graduated recently. Just make sure you remember this one thing: picking a college is hard; but at the end of the day, you’re really picking the professors who will teach you.