Learn in the Context of Your Faith


Judy Moseman explores whether, when choosing a college, it's more important to be culturally understood or to learn in the context of your faith.

Q. I was really excited about looking at Christian colleges, until I realized that many of them have a really low population of ethnic minorities. I'm African American, and I'm just not very excited about being in a place where many students are likely to be unfamiliar with my culture. Recently, a predominantly African American college approached me with a full scholarship offer because of my high test scores. Now I'm wondering: Why should I keep looking at Christian colleges when a historically black college has offered me a full ride? My parents both went to historically black schools, and we really need help thinking this through.

A. You have a difficult decision to make. In the historically black college you have the financial and cultural advantage, while the Christian colleges offer you the opportunity to study and learn in the context of your faith.

Why should you look at Christian schools? A Christ-centered curriculum and campus can make a significant difference in your spiritual formation, and help you as you prepare to serve God in your future career. From my experience, a Christian college is the best place to ask and find answers for life's most significant questions, and to deepen your understanding of God, the world he's created, and your role in it.

Visiting some of the campuses you like will help you experience and appreciate their mission. Scan the catalog for information about programs or courses that foster racial reconciliation. There are usually resource people on the campus to support and encourage the students of color who enroll. Be sure to meet them when you visit.

It's true that Christian colleges often have a relatively small number of students from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds. But colleges truly need those students on campus, because their presence helps other students appreciate the richness of the diversity of all of God's people. You can be part of educating your peers about your culture. You'll also have the opportunity to experience community life with people whose experiences differ from your own. Realistically, those opportunities can also add stress to your life and take you out of your comfort zone. They can also be experiences that God uses to deepen and develop you.

Your decision should be a matter of prayer and careful decision-making. Base your choice on visits to both kinds of campuses, conversations with students of color at the Christian colleges, and discussions with your parents about where you see yourself gaining the most out of your education.

Written by Judy Moseman


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