Mom's Blog on Choosing a College
September 21, 2012
Beth Sohn, parent of a freshman at Cedarville University, shares her family's journey of choosing a college:
In order to narrow down the myriad of college choices available today, my husband, daughter, and I started the process by asking God to lead us in the direction that He wanted for our daughter. From there, we began an ongoing conversation with each other about our values and what we desired in a school.
We asked our daughter to select the schools that she was most interested in and, using that list as a starting point, we worked together to narrow down the field. Our daughter scored well on her SAT and ACTs, which opened doors to many good schools with attractive scholarships.
Collectively, we looked for schools with excellent reputations and rigorous classroom environments that had accredited undergraduate and graduate programs. We wanted a small school where our daughter wouldn’t just be a number, but would have the opportunity to develop strong relationships with her professors and classmates.
As Christians, we carefully considered and prayed about the the spiritual environment we wanted for our daughter. Our first spiritual criterion was for a Christ-centered institution that invited God into every classroom and conversation. We wanted a school that hired employees who believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and a literal six-day creation. This was critically important to us since we knew that the faculty and staff would be pouring their ideas into our daughter, and that one day, we would answer to God for how she was raised. Additionally, we desired a school that would strongly encourage a commitment to each student’s spiritual growth, making it a priority and not just a freedom to pursue. We also wanted single-gender dorms and a reasonable curfew to encourage godly behavior and healthy habits.
With this criteria in mind, we scoured websites, made phone calls, and received lots of information in the mail. We read doctrinal statements, asked questions about majors, inquired about financial aid, and asked about 100 other questions. Having always lived at home, our daughter was very interested in finding out what it was like to live on campus. What were the dorms like? What do the students like to do besides study? These were questions that we could not find answers to through mailings and the Internet. So, we put together a plan to visit all of the schools that she was still considering.
Our family chose six schools and went on one mega road trip visiting each school over the course of 10 days. Before we left, we came up with a list of questions that we could use to compare schools and took copious notes during each visit. The on-campus experiences at each school were extremely valuable to us … meeting professors and admissions counselors, staying in dorms, eating in the cafeterias, and most importantly, just spending time interacting with students. It was a wonderful experience to meet happy, polite students who were excited about their schools. The students we met proved to be excellent at helping us truly understand the pulse of each school. It was these interactions with students on campus, combined with other information we received, that helped our daughter narrow down her college search to the final two schools.
Looking back on it now, searching for the right college for our daughter was a wonderful experience. It gave us plenty of opportunities to pray together as a family, discuss our values, encourage one another, and meet other believers. Not to mention one long, memorable road trip and a sampling of cafeteria food around the country that proved to be much better than we remembered back when we were in college. Ultimately, God clearly identified which of those final two schools was the right choice. Our daughter enrolled at Cedarville as a freshman this fall, and we ― all of us — couldn’t be happier.
Beth and her family reside in Beavercreek, OH. She is a homeschool mom of two daughters: 15 and 18 years old. Her interests are missions, children, teaching. and sewing.
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