“Should I Attend a Christian High School or College?”
Written by Christi Given | March 3, 2014
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
A PI girl recently asked about switching schools from a public high school to a private/Christian school:
“I am just starting public school for the first time and it also happens to be high school. I only have about 3 Christian friends but only one is really close to me. The rest of my friends are either atheist or just don’t care much for church. I always feel so motivated when I go to church but then school reminds me of what the world is really like. Should I just attend a Christian school for the rest of high school?” (To read the full post and to join our Girl Talk Forums, click here.)
I am very impressed that this PI reader is evaluating and considering her environment, and is concerned for her future and who is around her. I have attended both public schools and a private Christian university. I can tell you from personal experience that both are interesting to explore.
I am not opposed to being in a secular school, as we need to have people shining their light for Christ. I do, on the other hand, recognize the need to be in fellowship and to be built up in the faith. My whole life changed for the better when I went to a Christian university, so it will be a personal decision for you–neither right nor wrong. Ask God to direct your path and He will light the way.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path”–Psalm 119:105.
When I attended Vanguard University of Southern California, I had such a unique and special experience that was unlike that of any other school I had ever attended. Prior to going to a faith-based and Christ-centered university, I enjoyed sharing Jesus with friends, participating at my high school’s “New Life Christian Club,” which I became president of my senior year.
I loved being a leader, salt and light to other students and peers and loved seeing people come to know the Lord through youth group as well. I never attended a Christian school before college, but since middle school was always plugged in youth groups and Bible studies outside of school through my local church.
We are CALLED to GO INTO the world, not run from the world, but also there is a significant distinction about what you are taught and how you are treated (concerning prayer and spiritually) when you enroll in a Christian founded school.
If you don’t attend a Christian high school, I would absolutely pray and consider going to a Christian university because it is life-changing. When I first visited the campus at Vanguard, it was so peaceful, welcoming and such a warm and loving environment. I felt at home right away and I loved knowing I could lean on brothers and sisters in Christ at any time. The precious Needham Chapel was a campus place of worship you could count on if you had a long day in school–you could find when a service was going on or could simply go in to pray. Just seeing the chapel made my heart full of joy.
Obviously, we know that God is with us (Matthew 1:23) all the time, but there is a difference in a Christian campus, as you feel the Holy Spirit throughout your day. Even the teachers pray for you before class and before exams…it’s so comforting knowing they are REALLY genuinely FOR YOU. They want you to succeed, and they are also cheering you on and interceding for you!
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”-Deuteronomy 31:6
The other neat aspect of a Christian school or university, at least in my personal experience, is that they are typically smaller, so you get more one-on-one time. I am sure every school is different, but my experience was life-changing because everyone, for the most part, was of one accord. I loved seeing scriptures painted in some of the buildings and also seeing all the neat Christian books in the library. We were all seeking the same thing, God first, and then also pursuing an education with a spirit of excellence.
I loved being involved in campus activities, such as leading worship and also joining the Honors Society for communication students and being on board with them as well. The Lord opens doors for us when we honor him, and even through school I had amazing opportunities, connections and the ability to intern for a future partnership in which I am still in contact with through journalism. My overall opinion is to go for it and to go with what you feel God is leading you to.
Some students may feel called to public or secular schools to be an example. Other students may need to be uplifted and poured into (which was my case). In my case, I needed and wanted Christian girlfriends, as I did not have many Christian friends–most believe in God but were not necessarily walking in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Through Vanguard, beautiful friendships blossomed, and they ended up being lifetime friends and jewels, as I call them. They were long-awaited answers to much prayer. It’s so neat to know those people who are on the same page as you, cheer you on in Christ, uphold you, and intercede for you. I love those special people who, as you know, are very rare. I can say I have one or two of those people because and from Vanguard and I am so grateful for that–even if it seems like not a lot in quantity, the quality of the friendship is priceless.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16
Not all private schools or Christian schools are the same and in some cases there can still be some poor behavior, rebellion and partying, but that was not my experience at Vanguard. Everyone was truly genuine and I felt like there was a different breed of people. A people I had been longing to be around who not only I could bless and pour into, but in return blessed me tenfold. I really hope and pray you can either find these friendships in your church or in your lifetime. They are so rich in spirit and these experiences we go through strengthen our relationship not only with Jesus, but also add to our lives abundantly.
What are your thoughts about attending a Christian school or university? Are you transferring soon or thinking of colleges in your near future? Share your thoughts below!