When a High School student begins to prepare for college, many only see the big lights of a Big 12 school. They often have their hearts set on the great and the grand, but many lack the resources to get there. Let’s be honest; most students are not part of athletics, performing arts, or agriculture. This places them at a disadvantage when it comes to scholarships. But it does not mean college cannot still be part of their future. One does not have to attend the best Christian colleges to get a quality education that will aid them in accomplishing their dreams.
What Do the Best Christian Colleges Really Offer?
The best Christian colleges do have much to offer students who attend. And should a student be blessed with the ability to attend one, they should make the most of the opportunity they are given.
- A school with a name behind it. A name is just a name. Just because a school has a renowned brand attached to it, does not mean there are not more suitable options for a student. God’s calling on someone’s life does not hinge upon a highly rated college. Remember, he called fishermen, not temple high priests.
- More options. Obviously, with a bigger school, it will have a greater selection of classes one can attend. It is less likely that an offered class will be dropped due to lack of interest or unavailable professors to run it.
- “Greater quality.” The bigger the school, the greater the budget. Therefore, they can afford a teacher with more letters attached to the end of their name. Just because a teacher has multiple degrees does not mean they are a “better” teacher; it just means they have a higher level of education than the next. Even the smallest of schools have great professors ready for the challenge of teaching.
Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. I am not discounting the best Christian colleges. For many, they are the perfect fit, and the students who attend them will receive a great education and most likely find amazing success. But for some, it is not within their grasp, or in line with their calling. I want to encourage those students that are not attending a big-name school. Know that it is not a sign of failure. It is a sign that their path lies elsewhere.
What Often Keeps Students from Attending?
By far, the cost associated with attending the best Christian colleges is what keeps many students from applying. Even with Financial aid, the tuition fees can be more than the family can bear. And unless there are some serious scholarships or grants involved, the student will feel left out of an opportunity.
Another reason is life circumstances. This can be a variety of reasons: illness, family responsibility, or poor life choices – you are in a position where you cannot just pick up and go to school away from home, let alone afford to.
While cost and circumstances are the main reasons, another is God’s direction. He is closing the door on the “big named schools” because He has another plan. The goal now is to find that path and pursue it with all the students might.
Are there Options to the Best Christian Colleges?
For those who do not attend one of the best Christian colleges, there are many alternatives that are better than the best, especially when God’s calling is the primary focus.
- Community College – Also known as Junior Colleges. These are smaller schools that offer college courses but on a smaller scale — usually offering a two-year degree or certificates versus a four-year bachelor’s degree. These types of schools offer smaller class size as well as more affordable tuition. They also offer evening and weekend classes for those with obligations. And the best part is that the credits you earn can be transferred into a four-year college should the direction of your path change.
- Online Courses – If you are even unable to attend a community college, the one method of obtaining a degree is taking online courses. These are offered by most colleges and universities. Even the best Christian colleges offer online courses. They are great because you lose the structured surrounding of a classroom. You take the courses at your own pace, and you receive the same credit as a classroom student.
Best Christian Colleges: Final Word
It is good to dream big, but don’t give up when things do not go as planned. Just because you are unable to attend the best Christian colleges does not mean you cannot achieve your dreams. It does mean that your path lies elsewhere. Never be discouraged when you cannot see the next step. Devote yourself to prayer and seek God’s desire for your life. He will guide you in the way you should go; even if it is just the next step. It is all you need to see anyway.
Jeff S Bray wrote this article.