I actually felt important…like I was part of the school, not just a number.
I recently sat down with Marita, a recent alum of the University of Indianapolis, a Christian college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. While at U of I, she studied History and Spanish, with a minor in Political Science. Although the initial pull of University of Indianapolis was the proximity to her hometown, her perspective changed once she became a student. You may think that Christian colleges focus more on religion than academics, but that’s not true. To give some idea of the academic quality of these schools and their students, the average (SAT and ACT) test scores of students accepted were within the 79th-95th percentile.
Cost is something one must always consider while deciding which university to attend. Although the University of Indianapolis was more expensive than other schools on Marita’s list, she was able to meet many new people and build connections for her future. Due to the much smaller student population, common for Christian Colleges, she knew most of the other students on a first name basis. After comparing the top 17 Christian colleges, we concluded that the average amount of students is below 1,500, with a 15:1 student to professor ratio. Scholarships and financial aid are also available at most Christian colleges, so it’s worth looking into. In fact, all of the schools we researched showed 75-100% of financial need met, for those who qualified for assistance.
Marita feels that the best part of her Christian college experience was having a more personal relationship with her professors, stating, “I actually felt important…like I was part of the school, not just a number.” She felt so strongly about this, she decided to become a student ambassador, giving tours to prospective students and representing the college at events at the race track. These experiences are easier to obtain at small, Christian colleges like U of I and will help boost your resume over the next candidate interviewing for the same spot.
As far as the religious aspect goes, Marita admits that she had never really given religion any serious thought before attending the Methodist affiliated college. However, while taking the required religion course, she had the chance to attend four new churches (each with different denominations) around the city. She said the class opened her eyes to religion in general, and really cleared up the major questions she and many others have about religion. She even accepted an employment offer at one of the churches for part time work during her time as a student. See, you can believe what you want and still get a quality education at a Christian college. If anything, students are happier with their Christian college education versus their non-religious counterparts. Fourteen of the 17 schools researched boast retention rates between 75 and 90%, while 12 of the 17 schools graduate over 50% of freshmen within 4 years. Not to mention, all but one school had over 50% of freshmen graduating within 6 years.
Finally, Marita believes the biggest benefit of attending a religious school is, “opening one’s eyes to different experiences that they would not normally have.” Having since attended a different school for postgraduate classes, she misses the close knit feel and friendly atmosphere of her alma mater. She is currently an EMT, devoting her life to help save others in need.