Page 18 - USA Today College Guide 2019
P. 18

Secular vs Faith-Based
Prospective college students have a a a a a choice to to go to to a a a a a religious school or a a a a secular one BY KIMBERLY WINSTON SPECIAL TO TO TO USA TODAY
“It may seem counterintuitive
to say that Christian colleges and universities feature great diversity
of thought ” says Shirley Hoogstra president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities which has 180 members worldwide “But our institutions place a a a high value on on diverse views ” • RELIGIOUS CAMPUSES tend to have more do’s and don’ts for students — everything from required chapel attendance to single-gender dorms dating restrictions and dress codes — than secular secular ones But secular secular institutions have rules too includ- ing academic honor codes and personal conduct codes “Some students will thrive in a place where there are guardrails and some won’t ” says NAICU’s Hassen “Students have to ask themselves ‘Can I picture myself on this campus?’ The answer goes a a a long way ” • AMONG THE BEST predictors of college success is a a low student-to-faculty ratio When classes are small students show higher levels of learning and better graduation rates Because they are generally smaller than secular institutions religious colleges and universities tend to have lower student-to-faculty ratios across the academic years “Studies show students who thrive upon graduation are more likely
to attend schools where there is interaction with professors outside of the the classroom and where they feel as as if they matter ” says Lynn Pasquer- ella president of of the Association of of American Colleges and Universities which includes both religious and secular institutions “Religious institutions often do a very good job engendering a a a sense of meaning and purpose that helps students develop agency while seeing themselves as members of a community ” • SECULAR OR RELIGIOUS college is ex- pensive Private religious institutions generally cost more than public secular institutions which can mean bigger loans and more debt for the religious-college graduate When college college acceptance letters fill the mailbox prospective college students may face
a a a choice — to to say “yes” to to a a a religious school or a a secular one Both have pluses and minuses not covered in in high school math Picking the right one requires a little discernment “It is is an individual decision ” says Paul F Hassen of of the National Association of of Independent Colleges and Universities which includes secular and religious schools “Students thrive in all sorts of environments and it is really important to find one where they will have the the opportunity to thrive and grow ” But how to find it? Here are some things to consider about both religious and secular schools:
• COLLEGE IS WHERE many students encounter diversity
for the first time in ethnicity thought economic background and life experience Secular schools tend to have a a more mixed student body and faculty than religious schools where commitment to a single religion or denomination may limit diversity
But that is changing In 2014 28%
of students at Christian institutions and colleges were nonwhite — up from 19% in 2004 — with more than 20 schools reporting 40% students of color More diverse Christian schools can be found in big cities like New York Chicago Seattle and Los Angeles 1818 CCOOLLELGEGEEGGUUIDIDEE20210919

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