1.      Take CLEP tests to save money on your general education.

2.      Consider online classes (the way of the future!)

3.      If you’re offered a partial scholarship, highly consider attending that school even if it isn’t your first choice.

4.      Market yourself by finding your strengths (i.e. sports, music, dance, writing, science) and honing them. Then, apply for scholarships in those areas.

5.      Intern with a potential employer during college. I know several people whose employers grew to like them so much that they helped pay for their education.

4.      Above All Else

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverb 4:23).

When making educational choices, the most important thing to keep in mind is guarding our hearts. Our walk with Christ is significantly affected by our college choice because it is a battlefield for the mind. Secular universities are typically anti-God and anti-Christian. Christian students who make a case for Christianity or God often face ridicule and may even be persecuted.

Timing is another issue to consider. Going away to school when you turn eighteen is the American way. Everyone is expected to do it, even though not everyone is truly ready. Is this a wise trend? Are you prepared to go away? Are you mature enough in your faith to stand your ground for Christ?

This is a very serious question because more than sixty percent of students lose their faith during college.[ii] Are you willing to risk your soul for the sake of an education? Parents, are you going to spend thousands of dollars only to see your child turn away from Christ?

I am not saying that Christians should abandon academia—we need to be there! I am simply suggesting that we equip students with more than just a new dorm bedroom set. The worldly, intellectual, and societal pressures at college are immense. We need a solid biblical foundation to stand strong against them.  

Another option, of course, is attending a Christian college. Nowadays, you can find a vast majority of majors at any Christian institution of higher education. Pray and see if that may be where God is calling you. However, if you still feel compelled to attend a secular university, here are some helpful ideas:

1. If you do not feel ready to go away, then stay close to home and attend community college or the local university. Being close to your family and being able to discuss controversial issues with them will help you hear both sides of the argument instead of just one.

2. Know what you believe and why you believe it. Learning how to defend your faith is one of the best investments you can make. There are a number of college-prep books and even DVD studies available for Christian students. So, gather up a group of friends and dive in.

3. Stay connected with strong Christian mentors from home, find a good church, and get plugged in with other Christians on campus (like Campus Crusade for Christ). The Bible speaks about the value of like-minded friends. “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

Parting Words

We are presented with many choices during our lives and college is one of the biggest ones. It influences our future career and living place, our financial situation and credit score, and it might even play a role in who we marry. Obviously, our college selection is a big deal. We should treat it as such, living “not as unwise but as wise…” (Ephesians 5:15, NIV). Don’t wait until it’s too late, take the time now to seek the Lord and discover how you can honor Him with your educational direction.

Felicia Alvarez is a twenty-something author who is passionate about reaching her generation for Christ. She graduated summa cum laude from Liberty University and is currently working on her second book which addresses the intersection of worldview and Christian relationships. Her mentor, Pam Farrel says, “Felicia is a talented new voice bringing wisdom to her generation.” Actively involved in discipling youth in her community, Felicia speaks to youth and parents at church and homeschool events throughout the US .

[i] “New college board trends reports price of college continues to rise nationally, with dramatic differences in pricing policies from state to state,” October 25, 2011, The College Board. Accessed at Collegeboard.org

[ii] “Most twentysomethings put Christianity on the shelf following spiritually active teen years,” September 11, 2006, The Barna Group. Accessed at Barna.org