When I talk with students at my school about their college choice, they sometimes talk about “the real world.” What they’ll say is something like this: “I’ve been in a Christian school up to this point, and for college I want something different – the real world.”
But here is my question: How real is the “real world” of a college? I think I can make a strong case that life for a Christian student is actually a lot more real at a Christian college. Here’s why.
At a secular college or university, spiritual matters are typically absent from daily life. In the classroom there will be no attempt to integrate the Bible with an academic subject. And except for getting involved in a Christian campus organization (an absolute necessity for a Believer attending a secular school), there is likely to be very little focus on spiritual things. Weekend (and sometimes mid-week) parties, tailgating, and other activities will not generally tie the college experience with spiritual growth and understanding. For you as a Christian student, anything that is compartmentalized and does not relate to your faith will not really be real!
Students sometimes equate a Christian college experience as being “in a bubble.” I disagree with this portrayal. I believe the secular school experience – fraternity and sorority life, the emphasis on alcohol, various types of experimentation, and a general “me first” attitude of fellow students – is actually much more of a bubble. It is isolated from the things that will be at the heart of a Christian student during the college years, and is significantly different from the world you’ll enter when you get a job and start earning a salary.
If you’ve ever seen the show “The Real World” on MTV, you know how very unreal it is. Nothing about it even vaguely resembles how things work in the real world.
In fact, there will be plenty of opportunities to be “salt and light” in a Christian college – dozens of ministries to serve, whether in evangelism, ministry to the homeless, assisting the elderly, etc. And, of course, in the Christian college classroom, students and professors are making sense of the world by exploring academic subjects – and real world problems – through the lens of faith.
The Christian college – now that’s the place for a Christian student to experience college in a way that makes sense – a way that’s real! Welcome to a Christian college. Welcome to the real world!