Top 11 reasons why students should consider a Christian college today

  1. Faculty
    Research and antidotal stories continue to prove that faculty are amongst the top influencers in the university experience for college students. No matter if you're attending a rural liberal arts college, a suburban community college or even an urban university--- professors weld tremendous influence in the minds of undergraduates. They are intellectually gifted individuals who hold advanced academic degrees, have a protected platform for expressing their viewpoints, and hold the weight of evaluating students' academic progress. All this means that students tend to hold them in high regard and are influenced greatly by them. Faculty who are believers in Christ bring to the university a biblical framework through which they live, teach, research, publish and serve the community. Gratefully, there are Christian faculty at most colleges and universities in the country. However, it's a powerful thing at a Christian university to have ALL believers in Christ fulfilling their calling in a context of faith-based higher education. The Christian colleges assure that a consistent faith understanding is nourished in the hearts and minds of college students. Over the course of four years that has considerable influence in their development.
  2. Curriculum
    The courses you take in college aren't random ideas thrown together without considerable thought and planning. There is a logic undergirding the majors offered and the classes selected by faculty to be offered to students. At a Christian institution your courses are rigorous from a content aspect but also in that you're challenged to consider biblical principles that bring into play ethics and morality--- all the while contextualizing them and comparing them with other philosophical viewpoints. That brings into a student's experience a challenge that causes most to unpack their faith--- and in the context of a supportive community, re-pack their faith. Research shows that faith changes considerably during the college years in a positive direction at Christian universities while at other types of colleges and universities it suffers. In fact, the majority of Christian students at non-Christian universities will step away from their faith during those years. Given all the choices and decisions students have during those four years that are long-lasting--- it is important to be in the right environment. For most Christian students the best place for them is a Christian university--- in large part because of the curriculum.
  3. Finances
    It's a well known fact that higher education is pricey, especially at private colleges and for those from out of state studying at public universities.

    Christian colleges are committed to their mission to a degree that they do significant fundraising to help provide financial assistance to students to help meet the cost of education. The scholarships and grants coupled with federal and state aid help bring the out-of-pocket cost to manageable levels for many families. Look beyond the published price and realize that's not what most students end up paying to the university. The investment is still significant, but so are the results in the type of student that graduates from a Christian university.
  4. A Culture of Care
    While not all Christian colleges are the same--- they do have a common goal of having a culture of care for students that provides a support environment in which to learn and grow. That doesn't mean your mom is standing over you watching your every move. It's living in a community that supports you and upholds you in the tough times and celebrates your good times. Not all college types are able to fulfill that as well as Christian universities. Other colleges don't share a faith distinctive that fortifies students' experiences. Modern media provides constant examples of negative behaviors and outcomes that cause great heartache and in some cases, change the course of life.
  5. After Hours
    Some say that college comes to life after midnight! There's no doubt that's true. Christian colleges and universities offer many activities, clubs, sports, music groups and outreach, just to name a few. However, besides those traditional extracurricular activities, there's spontaneous fun that happens in residence halls at Christian universities that helps students to blow off steam. Runs to the coffee shop, game-playing, filming/editing videos, and watching old movies are just the beginning of what students do besides study for their upcoming classes. These are what make for some great memories during college.
  6. Iron Sharpens Iron
    We are shaped and molded in part by the company we keep. In Proverbs 27:17 it says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another," That's certainly true during the college years. The Christian college experience provides encouragement, as well as challenges that over time helps student mature in Christ. In the rough and stormy seas of life it's an incredible privilege to be in an atmosphere that places students with some remarkable role models in faculty and staff, who will forge greater levels of godliness and character. They truly are committed to college's students.
  7. Satisfaction levels
    Christian higher education institutions consistently outscore other classifications of four-year colleges and universities in regard to student satisfaction. In aspects such as academic rigor, quality of library resources, responsiveness of campus personnel, and whether students think the cost is worth the price, Christian colleges excel.

    The result---Christ-centered colleges have grown tremendously over the past twenty years. What makes the difference? Christian colleges are serious about delivering quality education and positive student life experiences and hire people who understand the missional nature of the institution. Campus personnel care deeply about students and invest a lot of time in-class and out-of-class serving their current and future needs. The focus yields high placement rates into careers, and graduate schools/seminaries.
  8. Kingdom Focus
    The Christian colleges and universities share a common goal of building up the Kingdom. Irregardless of what corner of the country the school is located, its size, and its number of National Merit Scholar's---the work of God has primacy in these schools. And don't be quick to dismiss this key distinctive because other types of colleges don’t pretend to get it. Sure, there are some Christians within those public schools that are followers of Christ and are shining His light in their universities, but that faith influence is not pervasive. A campus united because of Christ holds significant value, both in the present and the future. Through the efforts of students and alumni--- they are impacting the world for Christ. Their training coupled with their passion and calling is a powerful force for God's work to be accomplished.
  9. Safety
    All college and university campuses are committed to safety and Christian institutions are no exception. They exist because of students and are dedicated to them being able to enjoy college without concern for their well-being. However, blogs on the web consistently prove out that there are dangers at college, especially those that are not Christian. Many of those dangers result from alcohol-related usage during the college years and Christian students are not immune from the influence. Just check with the universities you're considering and see how overt the issues are by viewing their crime statistics. In addition to Christian students being challenged in their morals---- there's also intellectual danger. Some professors at non-Christian schools seek to question and destroy the faith of young people. While not every professor has that agenda, it is a factor to consider. And it's not like if you go to a Christian college you're not going to be challenged. You will be pushed to defend your positions, but in a manner to build up your faith - not tear it apart.
  10. Innovation
    Creativity and ingenuity mark the Christian campuses around the country. On all levels, the campus community is energized by making the college experience as insightful, stimulating, and relevant as possible. The world in which we live is constantly changing and Christian students are well-prepared to embrace the opportunities awaiting them upon graduation. Both the "head" and the "heart" are exercised at the Christian colleges and universities.
  11. Outreach Focus
    There are many opportunities to engage in ministry while a student at a Christian college or university. Outreach through tutoring in local schools, counseling in local clinics, teaching Bible in after school programs, and ministering to the homeless are just a few opportunities. Additionally, students are encouraged to go on mission's trips on Spring break and summer vacation.

By Dr. Tom Shaw