What Counts When Choosing a College?

from Mar 07, 2011 Category: Ligonier Academy

Ligonier Academy
Given the wide spectrum of options, considering an undergraduate education can be daunting.  Here are two points to consider when trying to decide on a college: (1) curriculum, and (2) relationships.

As to curriculum, undergraduate education ranges from the very broad liberal arts degrees, where one often takes a smattering of courses (many of which are unrelated to the student’s character or professional development and are rarely synthesized into a whole, consistent worldview), to the very narrow technical degree, where one receives a specific skill (quite apart from any intellectual and moral development).  Classically, education was more about becoming a mature and virtuous person, able to contribute to society, than simply about gaining a skill.  The goal of a liberal arts education, to be sure, and as can be seen from the etymology of the term itself, was to bring one into “liberty” (through “books,” libri), to a place of maturity and discernment so that any engagement in the civic arena was studied and wise (versus the masses who are characterized in classical literature as fickle and reactionary, slaves to passions and appetites).  Needless to say, the typical liberal arts degree today possesses little of its original literary and philosophical nature, and often includes rather irrelevant courses.  What’s more, neither of these approaches account for what is defined in Scripture as true wisdom—namely, the fear of the LORD, coming to a genuine knowledge of Jesus Christ.  As an alternative to both the overly general degree and the excessively limited one, consider a focused curriculum.  The College of Ligonier Academy, being neither a typical Bible college nor a Christian liberal arts college, offers young minds a focused curriculum: biblical studies, theological studies, church history, apologetics, and the great works of literature, philosophy, and music—in short, everything one needs to be a theologically grounded, scripturally discerning, and culturally engaging ______________________ (you fill in the blank: father/ engineer/ homeschooling mom/ banker/ missionary/ writer/ pastor).

Thinking about the context of one’s education, specifically in regard to relationships, is also important, and, again, there are typically two extremes.  Often, in the broad-ranged schools where student interests are so diversified, truly good relationships are difficult to establish (and nearly impossible to maintain over the course of one’s life) because there’s not enough consistent time and activity together.  At the other end, technical schools bring students together over a particularly limited common interest, often breeding more competition than friendship.  However, our hope at Ligonier Academy’s Bible college is that the focused curriculum will draw a diversified student body united by one goal: to glorify God and exalt Christ vocationally.  Some will come to begin training for the mission field or pastorate; others still will go on to be doctors or school teachers—but all will have come in order to deepen their knowledge of Christ through the rigorous study of Scripture and theology.  Such bonds made among student peers will likely stand the test of time.

Considering the applications from prospective students thus far, we are indeed getting excited about the like-minded group of young men and women coming together.  And there may still be room for you: the late application deadline is April 1st. Visit StudyAtLigonier.org to learn more.

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