In the world of higher education, Christian universities hold a special and secure place. They truly offer benefits that last their students the rest of their lives. First of all, they provide top-notch educations. Such an education will prepare you to for a rewarding career and, if you so choose, a leadership role within your community. But many secular colleges and universities are also first-rate when it comes to academics. What, therefore, distinguishes the Christian university?
If you are a Christian attending a Christian college, you’re able to explore your faith and share your testimony with professors and fellow students. Indeed, your entire educational experience is formulated around the beliefs and tenets of Christianity. For instance, if you’re a science major at such an institution, you will not only study the complexities of the natural world, but you’ll also learn and ponder the ways in which God’s hand and God’s plan play roles within the processes of nature. And you’ll discover that, while many intellectual notions come and go, fundamental truths are eternal.
When you attend a Christian college, you can live out your faith every hour of the day. Partly that’s because you are among like-minded students, students who share your virtues and who won’t pressure you to participate in activities that violate your principles. Hazing, binge drinking, narcotics usage, promiscuity, pranks that destroy property or put people in physical danger – all of these behaviors are just about unheard of within Christian academia. Moreover, you can share your beliefs and discuss them in depth with roommates, classmates, and cafeteria tablemates, rather than have those beliefs scoffed at by young people who scorn religion. You’ll gain new insight into what you believe, and why.
Now, none of this is to suggest that a Christian university isolates itself from the rest of the world. To the contrary, students at these institutions are encouraged to engage with the entire world, with all of society, and to count people of all faiths and of no faith among their friends and acquaintances. Indeed, as Christ calls his disciples to love one another, that message is echoed through the halls of Christian higher learning. The difference, rather, is that Christian schools help their students, during important formative years, stay on the path of righteousness and develop close, lifelong friendships with people who hold similar values.
Making friends – and perhaps meeting the love of one’s life – may be easier at a Christian school for another simple reason: these colleges tend to be small and tightly knit. At a school that’s not densely populated, everyone really gets to know everyone else. Further, the social atmosphere at Christian universities tends to be welcoming and caring. Yes, students work hard and push themselves to excel at their studies, but there is not a sense of cutthroat academic competition. Students help each other instead, and cheer one another on to greater success. It’s what Jesus would want and expect, after all.