There are many changes that public high school students will have to adjust to if they make the decision to attend a private Christian college, especially if they are not particularly religious or practice any other religion. These are just some things that freshmen coming in from a large public high school may experience as they try to adjust to college life. In the end, these differences may even benefit students and expand their outlook on life.
1. Class Size
If you attended a large high school, chances are you graduated with anywhere from 200 to 800 people. At a small private school, you are more likely to graduate with 100 other classmates or less. There are benefits to being part of a small class. It is nearly impossible to slip through the cracks at a private college and everyone has an important role in the school’s student body.
2. Bible Studies
Many public school students go through the majority of their high school career without learning about any sort of religion in school. Having to take mandatory classes about Christianity in college is often a new experience for students coming in from a public high school. This can seem very odd at first but even if you aren’t very religious or have a different religion, but bible classes can be interesting. They are usually structured very like history classes and can give insight into literary allusions that will aid students in English classes.
At most private Christian colleges, students are required to attend chapel. This is a way to reach out to students and keep them informed about events on campus but it also serves as a time to worship the Christian God. Again, like taking Bible classes, this may seem odd to many students coming from a large public high school where religion is usually left out of most academic conversations. I have come to find this time as an easy way to stay connected with my fellow students and see how they like to practice their religion in different ways.
4. Extracurricular Activities
Having a small class size means that there are often a lot more opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities. In bigger classes you have more people to compete with for certain positions in clubs and teams. This is not always the case for students at small colleges.
5. Religion in the Classroom
Oftentimes at private Christian colleges, professors that teach non-religious classes still tend to incorporate the religion into their lessons more often than students coming from large public schools are used to. It may seem odd to pray before a math test or to address biblical history in a research paper as though it is 100 percent fact. However, you eventually get used to this and it begins to seem less awkward.
6. Leadership Opportunities
Not only is there more opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities at a small college but there is also more opportunity to lead. In large public high schools, leaders are often selected based on popularity. However, at small Christian colleges, students realize the worth of all different kinds of people. Students know that the best leaders aren’t the most popular but the most caring and driven students. Being in positions of leadership helps students to feel more confident and more prepared for life after their college career.
7. Community Service
Small Christian schools offer many opportunities to serve the surrounding community. Public schools do some charity drives every once in a while but never get quite as hands-on with helping humanity as a Christian college does.
8. Making Connections
In public high school you may have a favorite teacher that you like to talk to after class but that is as close as you can get to the kind of relationships you will make with your professors if you attend a small Christian college. Many private colleges encourage their students to spend time with their professors outside of class. We have dinner at their house, receive advice from them, and make connections that run deep. Students learn quickly at a Christian college that their professors really care about them and want to see them succeed. They would not let a single student fail under any circumstances if it were up to them.
9. Class Discussions
The average high school class can have 30 students but at many private colleges this would be considered a large class. Oftentimes you will be in a class of about 12 people. Obviously more popular classes and general education curriculum see bigger class sizes but we also have classes with as little as only three students. This breeds great classroom discussion. You have more time for every student to be heard and ask questions.
10. Meeting People from Different Backgrounds
You might think that going to a Christian college most people would have very similar beliefs but that is not always the case. My college may not be anywhere near as diverse as my high school but I still meet people from backgrounds you might not expect. There are students who were home-schooled. We have international students. You may meet students who come from families with different financial situations from yours. There are even students of different faiths. Each student has something unique to bring to the table. The majority may have some common beliefs but not every single person does and even those who do are all different from each other in some way.