Emmanuel College chapel. Source: Flickr user stevecadman

Emmanuel College chapel. Source: Flickr user stevecadman

Religious colleges are all over the country. Some of the more common religions with colleges in the U.S. include Protestant, Catholic, Latter Day Saints (LDS), and Jewish. While some colleges are only religious in their founding, others weave their religious faith into everyday life on the campus. For students who have a strong faith and want to surround themselves with others with similar beliefs, a religious college might be for them.

Here are ten reasons to consider attending a religious college.

1. Faith-based environment

Many of the religious colleges will have a chapel or synagogue on campus for students. However, faith is found in other areas of the campus as well. For example, there may be Bible studies in the residence halls, prayer in the classroom, and many courses on religion and faith. Faith and religion is interwoven into almost every aspect of the college experience at many religious colleges.

2. Great education

Many religious colleges do not have household names, and tend to be thought of as less rigorous than bigger name college. But, don’t count them out as being a source of great education. Many religious colleges offer excellent academic programs. Religious colleges must pass the same requirement as other colleges to gain accreditation. In addition, many of the faculty members have earned their doctorates or terminal degrees in their fields, have been published, and serve as experts in their disciplines.

Many religious institutions continue to be recognized for their academics by publications that produce rankings, such as U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes.

3. Familiar social atmosphere

For students who grew up in a church or synagogue, attending a religious college may provide an atmosphere familiar to the student. Many religious colleges have a statement of faith and want anyone affiliated with the institution to hold the same beliefs.

In addition to the statement of faith, many religious colleges have community living standards students must abide by while attending the institution, such as not using alcohol. This can help some students find the feeling of belonging on a college campus.

4. Active student body

Just like any college, religious colleges have many ways to get involved outside of the classroom. Students will be able to find student organizations, theatrical productions, student newspapers, and college athletics at religious colleges.

The social environment will be the same as most colleges, but religious colleges add a commitment to faith and fellowship.

5. Small class sizes

Many religious colleges are considered small and have less than 5,000 students. This means students can expect small class sizes and personal attention from professors. Instead of having many lecture courses, many classes will include classroom discussion and group activities.

6. Faith and education integration

Faith is not only discussed in religious courses. At religious colleges, faith is discussed in most subjects. Discussions include how the subject integrates with the student’s worldview as it relates to their beliefs. Students will have the opportunity to discuss controversial issues in classes, hear what others think and believe, and learn how learning and faith can work together.

7. Strong campus community

Religious colleges encourage student connections through activities, religious services, student organizations, and other projects. Students at the colleges usually share the same beliefs and values, so they can find support and friendship from many of the students on campus.

8. Religious courses

For students who want to grow their faith and understanding of the religion, religious colleges offer many courses on religion. Religious courses can offer students an in-depth discussion on religious topics, historical information, and interpretations of religious documents, such as the Bible. Many religious colleges have religious courses built into their curriculum, so students should have no trouble making room for these types of courses in their schedule.

9. Spiritual life

Religious colleges give students the freedom to celebrate their spiritual life. Many religious colleges have places of worship on campus. In addition, because many religious colleges have students who will share your beliefs, students will find other students they can pray with, study the religion, and discuss their thoughts and questions.

10. Service

Central to many religions is service to others. Many religious colleges prioritize giving students to the opportunity to be of service to others on campus, in the community, and even globally. Religion colleges give students many opportunities to serve others, such as volunteering and traveling abroad to help the less fortunate.

Many of reasons for attending a religious college can be found at secular colleges. However, at secular colleges, students typically have to seek out opportunity to talk about their faith. At religious colleges, faith and beliefs will play an integral role in everyday student life.

Religious colleges are not for everyone. However, for students who want to surround themselves with others with similar beliefs, a religious college might be for you.