Trying to decide which school to study at is tough because you have to consider things like distance from home, if your program is offered, and the price to attend. For some students there is one factor that may trump all others when it comes to choosing where to study, should you attend a school where your religious values are upheld and even enforced by your school or attend a public college where religion isn’t discussed?

When some people think of a Christian school, they immediately think of a school where everyone there is studying to become a pastor or teach in a seminary. While there are some who are pursuing that course, the majority of students are studying secular programs. And we’re not talking small-town schools either. Georgetown, Boston College, BYU, Notre Dame and Fordham are all Christian-based schools. And for most of those schools, you do not have to be a devout follower of the faith to be accepted, although you may be required to attend religion classes or go to services.

There are pros and cons to studying at a Christian-based school and opinions splatter the internet forums. We’ve summed them up for you (because we’re helpful like that):

The Pros of Studying at a Christian University

Smaller class sizes
Most Christian schools are not as big as a state’s public university. This results in smaller class sizes, which leads to more attention from a school’s faculty and more opportunity for smaller group discussions. Texas Christian University (TCU) states that their student to faculty ratio is 14 to 1, which is lower than the national average.

A smaller school is a plus for new and younger students who can be overwhelmed by a bigger, busier campus. One blogger described the feeling as a “community environment,” where you see people you know and meet others you can relate to.

Quality of Environment
College campuses are often depicted as party places, and legitimately so at some schools, where the activities offered are more than questionable. Because Christian schools have a biblical basis, the quality of the campus life is enhanced because the content of activities and the educational experience is within the bounds of biblical teachings. This is not to say that there are not those that party at Christian schools, but in most cases it’s the exception instead of the norm.

The Cons of Studying at a Christian Universities

Many Christian schools cost more than secular universities. TCU’s website states that the total cost to attend there is $8,139 higher than the national average for a private, four-year not-for-profit university (including tuition, room and board, and living expenses).They also note that the “student debt following graduation is $8,868 higher than the national average.”

Lack of variety in points of view
One of the biggest opposing factors for those who don’t support Christian schools is the idea that those who attend restrict themselves in a “spiritual bubble.” They claim that by surrounding yourself with those of the same ideals and faith, you are not as prepared to go out into the real world afterward where you will encounter people of all faiths because you haven’t been challenged in your thinking.

It’s worth noting here that the pros and cons of attending a Christian college vary as much as the students themselves. What one may take as a pro, such as the smaller campus, another may take as a negative aspect, and much of the decision to attend a Christian school boils down to what each student needs and is looking for in their college experience.

In an article on the World on Campus website, Matt Lucas, a former campus minister for Reformed University Fellowship at the University of South Carolina states:

“Students must choose to attend a Christian school for the right reasons, and not because they don’t want to encounter any kind of spiritual danger. Christians should not choose a school simply because they think they will be safe, with no intellectual, spiritual or moral challenges to their faith.”

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