Can you give me any advice about selecting a good college or university? I'm a junior in high school, and though I have made up my mind to continue my education after graduation, I haven't yet decided where I should go. I've been looking at a lot of websites and college catalogues, but there's so much to consider. I'm finding the decision process a little overwhelming.
Choosing a college is one of the most important life-decisions you'll ever make. But take courage – it doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can make the process easier by getting in touch with your own values and learning how to prioritize your needs and goals.
We'd advise you to begin by considering where you stand in terms of your faith. Do you think of yourself as a committed and knowledgeable Christian? Are biblical truths and firm moral values important to you? Do you know your own mind, or are you easily influenced by others? It's important to recognize these personal characteristics before you start weighing your educational options. If you have doubts about your ability to withstand spiritual struggles, maybe enrolling in a Christian college or university would be a wise choice.
We say this because the secular university setting is often hostile to the biblical worldview. Christian students today should expect a certain amount of opposition on the secular college campus. In addition to choosing a college or university carefully, they need wisdom in the way they approach their studies and interact with their teachers. Like it or not, many professors at these institutions tend to present material in a way that denies absolute truth and stands in direct opposition to biblical standards of behavior. That's why we advise students who are less than rock-solid in their faith to seek out a college that's designed to build them up in this area rather than tearing them down. This doesn't necessarily mean that Christians should abandon secular academia altogether. But it does suggest that those who enter that arena are well advised to stay on guard and keep their eyes wide open.
Once you've thought about how your faith might be affected by your decisions, consider your occupational goals, your strengths and abilities, and your personal interests and inclinations. What's your outlook on life? Why is education important to you? What do you intend to do after you've graduated from college? As you probably know, colleges and universities differ in terms of the courses and programs they offer and the emphasis they place upon certain fields of study. Some are strong in technology and the sciences. Others excel in art, music, and the humanities. Some provide rigorous preparation for graduate work in medicine or mathematics. Still others have built their reputations upon the strength of their law schools or theological departments. This information is vital to your decision, and it's readily available on each school's website or in the print version of its catalogue.
After you've figured out who you are, what you want to do, and where you hope to go in life, you'll be in a position to identify those institutions that are best qualified to meet your personal needs. The financial aspect of a college education is another important part of the picture, of course, and this is something you'll need to discuss in detail with your parents and the financial aid offices of the institutions you're considering. When you've come up with a workable plan for funding your course of study, you'll be ready to make a final choice from among the schools that have accepted your applications and extended you an invitation to enroll. Only you can make that decision, and you should do it from within a context of earnest prayer and a heartfelt desire to serve the Lord. We're confident that He will direct your paths if you commit your future to Him and acknowledge His sovereignty in everything you do (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
In the meantime, here's a list of some Christian institutions you may want to investigate:
Abilene Christian University
Azusa Pacific University
California Baptist University
College of the Ozarks
Colorado Christian University
Dallas Baptist University
George Fox University
Indiana Wesleyan University
John Brown University
Mid America Nazarene University
Mount Vernon Nazarene
Olivet Nazarene University
Oral Roberts University
Palm Beach Atlantic University
Patrick Henry College
Roberts Wesleyan College
Seattle Pacific University
Trinity International University
Vanguard University of S. California
If you'd like to discuss any of this at greater length with a member of our team, call us for a free consultation. Our counselors would be more than happy to talk with you over the phone.
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