For some students, the decision to attend a Christian college is easy: they've always dreamed of going, and they want faith to be central in the classroom. For others, however, the choice is less clear.
In this article, four students who weren't sure about Christian college—but still chose to go there—discuss why they wouldn't trade their experiences for anything.
"I Didn't Want to Neglect My Faith"
All Scott knew about golf when he entered high school was that its players wore goofy clothes and swung clubs. But when a fellow student made a disparaging remark about a new African-American golfer making waves on the pro circuit—Tiger Woods—Scott felt he'd heard his calling. "He's an amazing player," the student had said about Woods, "but he'll never get to the top because he's black." That night, Scott told his dad he wanted to learn to play golf.
Four years later, Scott was getting some scholarship offers to play at secular colleges. But on a last-minute visit to Anderson University, in Anderson, Indiana, a school which doesn't offer athletic scholarships, Scott "fell in love with the place" and passed up the scholarship money elsewhere, convinced that a Christian college was where he should be.
Scott had a good freshman year at Anderson, playing golf and succeeding academically. So good, in fact, the secular schools came knocking again.
"When I was offered scholarships after high school, I thought that was a one-time deal," Scott says. "But after my freshman year all the coaches who were interested in me before were even more interested. Kentucky State offered to pay full tuition, room and board, and all expenses. They even offered a job with a stipend."
It was a sweet deal, and the chance to play at a higher level excited Scott. He accepted Kentucky State's offer.
At his new college, Scott got everything he'd ever wanted. Almost.
"I got so much publicity and attention at Kentucky State," Scott recalls. "Everything was paid for. I had a four-room apartment all to myself. I was given new shoes and new equipment. We didn't drive to tournaments—we flew. I didn't need anything.
"But it only took me two weeks to see I was missing God. I think you can do well wherever you go, but I just wasn't growing there. I couldn't find a church in the immediate area, I had no Christian friends, and I was an outcast because I didn't go to parties, drink, or get with women."
Scott longed for the people and environment he'd known at Anderson. He knew going back to Anderson didn't make financial sense, but his parents said they would support any decision he made. Scott's golf coach at Kentucky State was less understanding.
"I told him I honestly appreciated everything he'd done for me, but that I couldn't neglect my faith. He went ballistic and asked, 'Why would you give all this up for that?'"
After a semester at Kentucky State, Scott returned to Anderson. He doesn't regret the decision, and though he ultimately wants to play on the PGA tour, he plans to finish his finance major and attend grad school before going for his dream.
"My ambition is to play on the PGA tour," Scott says. "It's what I think about every day. But I also want to start a Christian golf camp. I'd love to bring Christian kids into the game, and I want to give something back."
"Parental Pressure Turned Me Off"
When Janice was in high school, she and her mom did not get along at all. They clashed over almost everything, Janice says, because their personalities are so much alike.
"We both like to be in control," she explains. "I felt like I could take care of myself, but my mom would tell me 'do this' or 'do that,' and I would get very frustrated."