The decision on which college to attend is important, and the first step that Christian students and parents should take is the most important.
“As a Christian, the decision on colleges should be like any other big life choice we make, namely that we pray for guidance throughout the process,” said Faith Baker. It’s what she did before choosing to enroll at the University of Mobile, a Christian college in Alabama where she now serves as assistant director of admissions.
She said every family is different and the things they are looking for in higher education vary dramatically. With over 5,300 higher education institutions in the United States, the possibilities can be overwhelming.
“The thing to remember when choosing a school is the next four-plus years of development are very intense ones. A lot of the time, college is the place spouses are found, some of the most influential friendships are formed, and values and beliefs are solidified.
“Because of the significance in this stage of life, finding a school that feels like home and encourages positive growth is an extremely important decision. Ask the questions that matter to you and your family the most.
“Whichever way the decision is made, one thing is certain, the chosen school will send ripple effects through the rest of the student’s life,” Baker said.
With so much depending on making the best decision for you, choosing a college can be scary. Having a personal enrollment counselor dedicated to helping each family and working with their individual situation can help alleviate that fear. At the University of Mobile, enrollment counselors serve as advocates for families, helping them navigate the decision-making process and personalize a financial aid package.
“These counselors will help navigate the confusion of the application process and truly work to help each student determine if UM is the place they are being called. We do everything we can to assist families through that process, and their final decision, no matter the decision, is one we celebrate with the families,” she said.
Baker said the perception is that private Christian higher education is expensive, but families should question that perception.
“The interesting thing from our perspective is that, generally, we can get the cost comparable to a lot of the public secular schools’ out-of-pocket. Because we are a smaller school, we are able to thoroughly review each student and try to find options to make it financially possible for them all,” Baker said.
One of the best ways to determine if a college is the right fit is to visit campus, take a tour, and meet faculty and students. The University of Mobile is hosting in-person campus visit day events (UM Days) and private campus tours, as high school students across the nation are making their college decision.
Prospective students and families can have a college visit experience that follows CDC guidelines and still allows students to set foot on campus for an in-person visit, instead of limiting students to virtual campus tours. RSVP for a campus visit at umobile.edu/visit.
“We have been able to provide the full array of campus tours,” said Baker. “While some adjustments have been made to comply with state requirements and to give alternate options for our guests, this past year we have hosted families in all formats. Private individual family tours, traditional UM Days, and virtual campus visits have all been options.”