I recently returned from a college scouting trip with my 17 year old son and what an eye-opening, informative and exciting adventure it was. It has been many years since I graduated from college but I still remember how certain I was about what college I wanted to attend. As a Florida girl, I was determined to go to a place where I could experience cooler weather and a little snowfall in the winter. I was also drawn to the beauty of the mountains. Even though I had a wonderful, loving relationship with my parents, I really wanted to go a good distance away from home. I was ready to spread my wings.
Even so, I was still caught a little off-guard when my son expressed that same determination to go to a college out of state. After a few early, futile attempts to get him to attend college closer to home, I realized, he is his mother's son...a little stubborn and independent. Therefore, I eagerly began helping him to sort through college information and to plan a college road trip to several colleges in the southeast that seemed to fit his needs and our goals for him as a college student. After much prayer, planning and anticipation, we headed out... SAT scores, G.P.A. and class rank in hand.
We visited seven colleges in 5 days, listening to admissions presentations and taking tours at each location. We explored both Christian and secular universities, from very small to quite large. I quickly realized that we were hearing many of the same "buzzwords" at nearly all of the schools we visited. Needless to say, they were all new ideas since my days in college nearly 30 years ago. Some are big ideas, others are smaller innovations. Here is a partial list:
extensive data bases
test optional admissions process
completely wireless campus
laundry web site ( you can go online and see when a washer is available! )
microwave-fridge combination ( for saving energy )
study abroad ( we had this at my college but it is much more wide-spread and available now )
As I said, these terms are now the norm on college campuses. We heard them again and again.
The most awesome moment for me was visiting one-on-one with the admissions counselor at a medium sized Christian college. She exuded the joy of Christ and of course, talked to my son about praying about his decision and following the Lord's leading. She said, "If the Lord leads you here, we would love to have you."
It was at that same college where I was fighting back tears during the viewing of the admissions video! My son and I were the only ones in the room at the time and the Christian message and vision that were put forth by the college president in the video just got to me. It was inspiring...and I am quite sensitive when it comes to spiritual things anyway. My son, of course, was horrified that someone would walk in and see me crying...he said, "Mom! No one cries during admissions videos!" That made me laugh and I quickly dried my tears before the admissions counselor reappeared.
The colleges we visited covered a somewhat wide range from very conservative to more liberal, as evidenced by their dorm rules, types of clubs and organizations on campus, and the content of the classes offered. As I said, it was an eye-opening trip, to be sure.
What do you think about whether Christian kids should ever go to a secular college? Leave a comment below and let me know.