Choosing which school to attend is a life-altering decision. Many of the decisions you make during these two or four years will chart your route for life, including decisions about your major, career, relationships, and especially, your relationship with God.
1. Open your eyes.
This sounds really obvious, but you might be surprised how many people choose a school based on what’s close to home, where your friends are going, or where others expect you to go. Unless you open your eyes and take a good, hard look, you might just as well pick a college acceptance letter from a hat while blindfolded.
2. Open your eyes and look inside yourself.
One important consideration should be to find an atmosphere where you can grow spiritually. What will that take for you? It can happen in a public university, but it will take a concerted effort on your part to find other Christians while at school.
Or you could choose a Christian college or university, one that exists for your spiritual formation, a school like Kingswood. Even at a Christian university, you still need to commit yourself to spiritual growth, but it certainly helps to have faculty, staff, and peers cheering you on. No matter what you want to study, there is a Christian college or university offering that major.
Look inside yourself to see how God has wired you. What interests and aptitudes has God given you? You can serve God in any vocation and there’s no greater discovery than to find out why he put you on the earth. Don’t settle for just making a living; make a life.
3. Open your eyes and look at the options.
Learn what you can about a campus’s location and facilities, but look closely at the faculty. These men and women will shape your experience more than anything else. At Kingswood, we’re proud of our beautiful campus in Canada’s “picture province,” but we’re even prouder of our well-prepared and approachable professors.
The best way to look at the options is to visit the campus, whether in person or virtually. You’ll get a much better sense of how well you’ll fit if you actually see it with your own eyes. You wouldn’t make an expensive purchase without a close inspection; do the same with your college.
Open your eyes to learn all you can about what a school offers. You might be surprised. For example, some think Kingswood is just for future pastors, not realizing this is also a great place to build a solid foundation for life or to prepare for ministry in the marketplace.
Take a good look at the cost of the program. In the United States, many schools charge a high sticker price, then offer steep discounts. In Canada, schools advertise the price you’ll actually pay. Either way, ask each school to provide their best offer for comparison. Price isn’t the most important factor, but it is worth a careful look. The less you have to borrow and repay later, the better.
4. Open your eyes to see what that school looks like to those who know it best.
Talking with current students, whether during your campus visit or at another time, is the best way to get an honest picture of what it’s like to study there.
Seek out those who attended or graduated from that school. Listen to what they tell you, but also, look at their lives. Do they have the skills and characteristics you need? Are they the kind of people you want to become? If so, perhaps their school should be your school.
Choosing a college or university is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in life, affecting so many others. Make it with your eyes wide open and you’ll be glad you did.
President of Kingswood University