Elizabeth Kanoy, Covenant College (Lookout Mountain, GA)
(and Regent University online... and Liberty University online...)
When I think back on my Christian college experience, both on campus and online, I am very grateful for where it took me. My college experience did not go as expected when I arrived as a transfer student my sophomore year to an on-campus Christian college. I went to this Christian college at the advice of my youth pastor, but I also went to this college thinking that it would "fix" me. I was at a point in my life where I thought I was the only unhappy person who just couldn't get this "Christianity thing" right, and I saw what I thought were all these other happy Christians who seemed to have it together. I wanted to be like them, I wanted to be happy and content, and I thought if I just went to this college the formula would come together and I would magically turn into the person I wanted to be (of course, I later realized I'd been trying to become something on my own without God's help).
God used my time there to break me down so that I could see I was nothing without him and that I needed him to make me whole and new. He also used my time there to surround me with solid Christian friends who spoke truth into my life and encouraged me with grace, really amazing people whom the Holy Spirit is working through, and he brought them into my life when I needed them most. At the end of that year, I was pretty raw and broken, but I finally understood what it meant to be loved by God and I became a new creation with a regenerate heart that year (thank you Jesus).
I took the next year off from school, going back to visit the friends for whom I was so thankful. Eventually, learning about people all over the world — the cultures they lived in and the beliefs they held — sparked an interest in me to continue my college education in the field of religious studies. I wanted to learn about other worldviews and how to communicate with people who believe differently than me. I continued my education online with another Christian university, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to take classes from a Christian perspective — especially when they pertained to theology, Christian living, and worldviews. Taking classes online also helped me make up time from the year I took off.
In the end, though, due to finances, I ended up graduating from a public university, and it worked out well because I got to take in-depth classes in other religions that I would not have been able to elsewhere. Without a doubt, God had his hand over my entire non-traditional college experience; God used every detail to make me into the person I am today. And he'll do the same for you wherever you serve him.
What parents need to remember most when sending a child to college — whether it's a Christian college, online, or public on-campus university — is that God is sovereign over your child's life. He is in control; it's his hand guiding and drawing them closer to himself.
Christian colleges can teach students truth and grace to help them understand what it means to live in the world but not be of it. But if your child chooses a public university, there are still some really great Christian organizations and ministries that can provide a wonderful community in which to grow.
For more information: www.covenant.edu
Image courtesy: Covenant College