Getting Accepted at a Bible School or Bible College: The Basics
Be sure to consider all application details, all deadlines, and so on, as you plan for Bible School. Your first consideration should be your desire to attend: it must be strong and clear.
First of all, you need to want to attend a Bible School or College, and you need to want to learn and grow in your understanding of, and relationship to, Christ. Schools also require a minimum age of 17 on admission day, and completion of high school.
Often there is no specific deadline date for applying. Many spots are available for both males and females; once these are filled, a waiting list is set up. Acceptance for the next autumn intake usually starts in November or December. To have a maximum chance of enrolment, make sure that your completed application is received as early as possible. Starting in June, the enrolment begins to solidify, and students are often moved from the waiting list to full acceptance status at that time.
If you are attending a Bible School in another country, make sure you have the facts straight on obtaining visas, travel requirements, and your arrival and departure details.
What are Typical Students Like?
Bible School students vary in ages, and the ages change every year. Most are recently finished high school, and about half are ages 17 to 19. Many, however are in their 20’s, and some are in their 30’s, 40’s…even some in their 70’s! Every year is unique, in that there is great variety in age, culture, background, and so on.
Home schooled? You need to check with the particular school, but many do accept home schooled students. Usually, the only requirement is that they are a specific age…in Canada this is often a minimum of 17 years at the beginning of September. Those aged 16 and under have experienced difficulties in adjusting to the community and campus.
Financing, budgeting, and expenses for Bible School or College
Budgeting and financing are very important aspects of planning for any post-secondary education, and you need to consider tuition costs, other typical expenses such as medical expenses, expenses for toiletries, etc. while you are a student.
Bible School expenses need to be planned. For maximum comfort and peace of mind, it is important that you carefully consider many aspects of finance…you want, after all, to have financial peace of mind during your studies.
The September to May costs for Canadian Bible Schools typically run about $ 10,000 to 12,000 CAD. Some of this amount may be considered as a charitable donation for tax purposes–check with your accountant or tax advisor. This donation status applies to anyone who contributes to the student’s tuition.
Schools suggest a budget for spending money at $ 200 to $300 per month. This covers personal items such as laundry, toiletries, personal entertainment, breaks, transportation, and so on.
Schools often run 2 to 4 field trips throughout the year, these run at about $ 100 to $ 150 each. Students must budget $ 200 to $ 300 for books; this amount is usually due at Registration. Note that books are often sold to students at a discount through the campus store.
Students will also want to have a copy of the annual yearbook, which can run at about $ 20 to 40 per book.
In British Columbia, all students can apply for British Columbia Medical coverage. The cost is about $ 70 per month; this may vary for other jurisdictions. There is a 3 month waiting period for those who are not Canadians, but coverage is available for this period as well, at about the same prices. It is normal for all students to be required to have medical insurance while studying at Bible School, and documentation of plan coverage must be shown at Registration.
Extracurricular activities at Bible School
What you learn outside of class is often just as important as what you learn inside. Your activities at Bible School do not begin and end in lectures. Consider the neighboring communities, outdoor facilities, and cities as settings for your education…many possibilities are there….gyms, sports opportunities, trips, break activities, going to church, etc.
There is usually a gym on campus, with several organized intramural sports programs throughout the student year. Example sports are volleyball, baseball, basketball, soccer, Frisbee, and so on.
Going to church while at a Bible School or College
Usually, your school will require that you go to church each Sunday to attend a service of your choice. There are often a number of churches near campus of various denominations. Many people in local congregations will even provide a ride to church for willing students if the church is too far to conveniently walk from campus.
Students who come with cars can, of course, select churches more distant from the campus. A list of churches is usually provided at Registration.
Field Trips for Fun and Learning
Bible Schools often organize trips to local Christian weekend conferences held in regional cities. These may draw thousands of participants, and you may have a chance to serve as part of the organizing groups that offer these conferences. As well, students often have opportunities to speak with conference coordinators, talking with missionary representatives from all over, to get a good idea about how they, too, could get involved with this type of activity.
Attendance at Bible School: Arriving and Leaving Early
Bible Schools will expect students to be completely devoted to their lectures, study periods, and studies. These are all required, and students also need to understand that they must conform willingly to the program as it is run on a daily basis. Punctuality is important, and students need to cooperate in order for the school to run smoothly. You will be expected to complete all courses; that means arriving on the first day of classes and departing on the last day.
Most Bible schools offer one-year programs. The semesters are set up to organize the course content, but not to offer a chance of separate enrollment for each semester.
If there is not full enrollment in a September semester, or if a student must withdraw, then a student is often accepted at the beginning of the next term start. Usually, this is not something that can be predicted.
Free Time and Your Personal Life
Usually there are several afternoons available for free time, and weekends also offer free time. Ask your Bible School administrator for a sample weekly schedule. During this free time period, check the calendar of scheduled extra activities, outreaches, and other weekly and monthly events. You need to structure your own time to complete your assignments on time, as well as to take care of your laundry, socializing, exercising, and so on. You are free to use the gym, computer facilities, and so on, as available during these periods. Weekends are your main unstructured times to choose activities according to your own priorities.
Working while at Bible school
The course load is usually 100%, so with all of the activities involved in student life, there is no time for outside employment. Schools usually consider this a distraction to the purpose and focus of the program. As well, if students are involved in daily duties on campus, there may be no opportunities on campus for work.
Dress code guidelines
Bible schools usually require clean, modest, neat dress, worthy of someone who desires to glorify Christ. Show modesty at all times, regardless of fashions and trends. There may be a specific dress requirement for Sunday services at local churches…you will want to check with your school about this.
Charlie Fordham is the Founder and Director of the Capernwray Bible School on Thetis Island in British Columbia, Canada. He has lectured around the world and has taught thousands of students in Christian centers worldwide. He provides pastoral leadership, training people for full time Christian service…regardless of their occupation through teaching and preaching locally and abroad.