Bible Colleges Compared – Online vs. Campus Programs
Bible colleges are a great option for students who want a faith-based education. This could mean education in preparation for a ministry career, like becoming a pastor or a pastoral counselor, or it can simply mean earning a more general degree (like English or music) in a religious environment. Either way, if you’re considering bible colleges, there are both online and campus programs offered to students that might be right for you. Here’s a quick guide to how these types of programs differ and which one is right for you.
At one time, online programs were considered to be not as valuable as traditional programs, but today, thousands of students are graduating from these programs with degrees that are just as valuable as those earned at campus programs. The key here is accreditation. Whether you go to a bible college online or offline, look for a Bible college that has been accredited by either a national or regional accrediting agency. This will ensure that the education you receive is adequately preparing you to work in your field of choice.
One of the main advantages to going to Bible college online is the flexibility these types of programs offer. Instead of attending classes three times a week or whatever may be the case with a traditional program, you’ll instead log on and complete your coursework whenever it is convenient for you, be that in the early morning before you kids are awake or on your train commute home from work in the evenings. You also have the flexibility to do work from anywhere, so you could be “at class” while at the park with your family or during your lunch hour at work – or even in bed!
Many students choose to attend Bible college over a secular school because of the faith-based community these schools offer. When you go to school online, you still do receive education with a religious spin, but there are usually fewer options in terms of student activities and groups you can join. Online, you get a lot of freedom to work independently, but if you’re craving a close-knit community, a campus program might be the better option.
Every program is different, but the average online Bible college program is less expensive than the average campus Bible college program. When you go to school online, you don’t have to pay for room and board (rent and groceries on your own is usually much cheaper), and your tuition is lower to reflect that you’re not using campus facilities, participating in student activities, etc. For students on a budget, the lower cost of online colleges is certain a major draw.
Keep in mind, however, that campus programs typically offer more scholarships and grants for students. You can still apply for financial aid for online schools through outside programs, but the colleges themselves often don’t offer as much help for students as traditional campus programs do. Of course, this depends on the specific program you attend.
Students considering online school are often worried about not having a connection with professors – but this is usually not a problem. While you can’t pop into your professor’s offer during typical office hours, virtual professors are connected to you 24/7 via email to answer you questions, and many have “office hours” via chat applications, so you can be assured that they’re available to answer your questions in real time.
In addition, online, you’ll have access to professors who are based around the world. This means you can take a class taught by the best professor in the respective field, even if that professor doesn’t live locally. However, keep on mind that with all of your professors, you won’t have as much hands-on learning, so if you’re someone who values this close connection, online college might not be the best option for you.
While online Bible colleges are becoming more and more common, some programs still are only available at typical campus colleges. Others might have a few classes available online, but you still have to complete your degree at a campus college. It depends on your major and what you want in a program. In some fields, complete courses are readily available online. In other fields, there are very few educational options online.