My first year of college was one of the hardest years of my life. I went to a secular state school and I quickly found myself feeling stagnant and frustrated in my faith. So I did something I never thought I would do: I transferred to a Christian school.
Making the move to a Christian school can be a huge blessing—but just because you are a believer doesn’t mean a Christian school is the best place for you. There are pros and cons to both sides, and several factors you should consider.
For many believers, the idea of a Christian school is enticing because it almost guarantees that you will be surrounded by like-minded people. Your professors and classmates will all be Christians, and most likely will have a Christian world view. This can help you feel empowered in your spiritual life and lead to new areas of spiritual growth.
Being surrounded with people who think like you might sound great in theory, but it isn’t always beneficial. Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples, but he also spent a significant amount of time with people who strongly disagreed with him…a lot. When we are surrounded by people with differing opinions, it can actually help us strengthen our faith in new ways.
For me, the best part about attending a Christian school was the community. Most Christian schools restrict certain behaviors like drinking and partying, so that often means students at Christian schools have to be more creative in how they have fun. This can create deep, lasting relationships based on a shared belief in Christ.
At a secular college, a built-in community is not a guarantee, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, God calls us to go into all nations to create disciples of Christ. What better place to do that than on a school campus? Your classmates will see the choices you make, and your example might inspire them to change their own way of life.
With great community comes great responsibility. Many Christian schools require things like chapel attendance and strict adherence to a behavioral code. This discipline can be helpful for some students who crave that kind of structure during their formative college years.
For some students, these rules can feel restrictive and can lead to a relationship with Christ that feels forced or inorganic. Going to a Christian school doesn’t mean you are “safe” from the temptations. If you want to attend one just to escape the pressures of the outside world, you might have the wrong motivation.
Christian schools often offer great Bible classes that deal with deep theological issues. These classes are usually taught by experts, and can help you deepen your understanding of God in a way that normal Bible studies often can’t.
However, some Christian schools might not be able to offer the range of classes that a public school can. Make sure to think about what you are interested in studying and ensure that whatever school you go to offers a variety of classes in that area.
Prayerfully make your decision based on what will be best for your academic and spiritual life. Don’t make your decision because of the fear of being different or facing temptation on a secular campus.