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    What Makes a Christian College Different?

    Three reasons why many students select Christian colleges as places to prepare for their future.

    Aaron Basko

    Why Christian College?Selecting a college means making some tough decisions. What do you want to study? How far away from home will you go? What size is best for you? As a Christian student, one of the most important questions is this one: "Should I choose a Christian college?" There isn't a "right" answer, since God can guide, teach, and prepare you wherever you go, but here are three of the best reasons why many students select Christian colleges as places to learn, grow and prepare for their future careers.

    Academic Integrity

    What is possibly the most distinctive feature of a Christian college education? Academic integrity. We usually use the word integrity to describe those who are trustworthy or stand up for their convictions, which could certainly apply to Christian colleges. But the word integrity originally meant "wholeness." When you build something and all the pieces are finally in place and fit perfectly, what you've built has "integrity."

    Academic integrity is one quality that NACCAP, a group of Christian college admissions professionals, says clearly sets Christian colleges apart from all other schools. In discussing this distinctive, NACCAP says: "The Christian college views all of life and learning as a whole, to be understood in relation to God's creation and in the light of God's Word." Christian colleges have the opportunity to explore all truth, because they know that all truth belongs to God.

    While secular colleges can teach you a lot about how the world works, Christian colleges can also teach you why it works that way. While most public schools can train you for a great career that will provide you with a good living, Christian colleges can teach you how to use your position and your money to find true satisfaction and purpose, and to make an eternal difference in the world.

    This is not an easy job. Often Christian colleges have less financial resources than state-funded universities or private research universities, and yet they are called to achieve a higher standard of academic integrity—to help students fit all of the pieces together. Christian colleges take on the big questions other types of colleges largely avoid. They have the really tough job of teaching students how to apply what they believe. Contrary to some stereotypes about being narrow-minded and second-rate, Christian colleges, on the whole, strive for academic excellence and seek to give students the freedom to ask hard questions. So what does this mean as you seek to find a school that's the best fit for you? Well, when you begin to check out potential colleges, here are a few things you need to find out:

    Christian colleges can teach you how to make an eternal difference.

    • What does the college say about itself? Read the brochures. Browse the school's website. Yes, a lot of what you'll see seeks to put the school in the best possible light. Even so, ads and web pages will give you glimpses into what the school considers important. If you feel like the school is talking down to you in its material, you might not want to put that school at the top of your list. But if you're excited by the way the college talks about its approach to "academic integrity," then it might be a fit for you. While brochures and websites won't give you the full picture, they are a great place to start.

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