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Should College be a Must for the Christian Girl?

By: Bethany Baird

It happens every year.

Thousands of guys and girls pack up their bags and head out to their first year of college. It’s the normal and expected post high school option. Why rethink it? Why consider doing something different?

When I graduated from high school I felt like a total freak for not following the normal path and heading off to college. 

When the fall semester rolled around I stayed home like a weirdo while every other fresh high school graduate embarked on this new and exciting journey we call college (you can read about that in more detail here).

During those years of “weirdness” for not following the cultures expected path, I often second guessed my decision to skip out on the college scene.

I would lay in bed and wonder.

“Did I make the right decision? Am I missing out on some epic part of life that can only be found through the college experience? Is it still possible to continue my education without going to college? Will I regret not having gone off to play basketball at the University level?”

I wasn’t exactly sure what my future held, but I was confident that college was not the option God had for me. I had prayed and prayed and prayed, and sought counsel from my parents. I was assured that I had made the right decision for my life.

I’m twenty-six now, and I can honestly say that I don’t regret skipping the college experience one tiny bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against college.

In fact, I have siblings and close friends who have benefited greatly from attending college.

The reason that I am writing about post high school options is because I’m concerned. I’m concerned about you becoming one of the thousands who trudges off to college in the fall (or sometime in your future) just because.

Just because it’s expected.

Just because it’s normal.

Just because you don’t know what else to do.

Just because all of your friends are going.

Just because you feel pressured.

Just because you think college is the only option for furthering your education.

Just because you want a ring by spring.

Just because you want to get away from home.

Just because (you fill in the blank).

I want to challenge you to step back for a minute and rethink college, debt and post high school options.

I want to challenge you to ditch the cookie cutter mold and think outside the box.

Don’t let the culture’s “norm” push you around and cause you to spend four (or more) years of your life pursuing a degree just because it’s expected.

Be a girl who thinks outside the box, plans smart, works hard, prays well, seeks counsel and pursues God’s best option for her specifically…which might mean college.

Let’s dig a little deeper into three areas that are bound to affect every girl who plans to turn 18.

1. College 

There are many things to consider when praying about the possibility of attending college. There’s location, cost, private or public, living at home or living at school, scholarships, sports, classes, degrees, internships and on and on the list goes.

If you plan to attend college think long and hard about the pros and cons of what will happen over the next four years. Think about the degree you are getting and why you are getting it. Think about the cost and how you will afford to pay it. Think about the peer pressure of your professors and fellow classmates. Think about church options and Christian groups to get involved with.

Think about your future and make sure that college will be a benefit and not a hindrance or time waster.

I’ve seen WAY too many girls run off to school without thinking and praying about their future. Don’t live in the moment, plan ahead and think of your life 5 years down the road. Make sure your choice to attend or not attend will be a blessing to your future self and a decision that will honor God.

2. Debt

This is one area that college students seem to accept as a standard part of life. Let me just ring the bell loud and clear and say that school loans and debt don’t have to accompany every twenty something aged girl.

I’m twenty-six and have zero debt.

It’s not because I’m rich or because my parents spoon fed me every step of the way. I’ve just made the commitment to stay out of debt and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I work hard for my own money, I drive an old car and I don’t spend what I don’t have.

The Bible says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).

If you have to go into debt to attend college, you need to accept the fact that you will be a slave to your lender until you can pay it off.

The debt won’t go away until you work hard and fork over the big bucks.

Now that I’m older and most of my friends are long graduated from college, I can tell you for sure that debt weighs heavily on a woman’s life. It’s binding and restricting and just plain stressful. Don’t go into debt if you can avoid it.

3. Post High School Options

Living in the twenty-first century has some serious perks. We as Christian women have access to amazing post high school options that no other generation has ever experienced. I want to share several ideas for you to consider that are outside of the normal cookie cutter college mold.

Online classes:

There are dozens of colleges that now offer degrees completely online. These degrees are a fraction of the cost and give you SO much more flexibility in your studies and schedule. A few great options to look into would be: Liberty Online, and Colorado Christian University.

College Plus:

College Plus is an amazing organization located here in my very own city. Basically College Plus guides you in testing out of, or “Clepping,” the majority of your college credits. This is an incredible option and one that I would highly recommend looking into if you feel like college is a must for your future.

Ellerslie Bible School:

Ellerslie is a Bible School/Spiritual boot camp located in Colorado. If you are interested in working with missions or just want to grow in your spiritual life Ellerslie is an amazing option.

ACBC Biblical Counseling Certification: 

If you have a passion for mentoring, counseling or discipling other girls, the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors has an amazing do-it-from-home training and certification course.

Those are just a few ways that you can continue your education after high school.

Let me just finish off by saying that we as Christian girls should ALWAYS work hard and continue our educations whether we go to college or not.

Never stop learning. Never stop reading. Never stop growing in your education. Never stop working hard.

Let’s wrap it up…

If you are past the college age I would love to hear what you did after high school and hear why you chose to do what you did.

If you are an older woman we would love any advice or wisdom you can offer us younger women.

If you are currently in high school I would love to hear your thoughts about your future. Will you go to college or not? Will you pursue a traditional route or do something out of the ordinary?

Share your thoughts with us below.

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  • Princess

    I want to be a doctor so I will one day head off to college but I found this post interesting as I have never considered anything else – Thank you x

    • Princess, thanks for taking the time to read this post. I’m glad it brought up some new thoughts and ideas for you! 🙂 -Bethany

  • Kaylee O’Brien

    In the past couple of years I have gotten to understand and be introduced to people who are on the road to success, but where traditional college isn’t part of that. I plan on going to college, but not super traditionally. I will start taking general education classes at the local community college in 11th grade, while still in homeschool high school (I’m in high school now). After high school graduation I hope to transfer to a local christian college and get a bachelors degree. It would be cool to get a Masters degree at some point too, but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself.

    • Hey @kaylee_o_brien:disqus It sounds like you are thinking, planning and praying about your future. Keep trusting in the Lord and seeking His will for your life above all else. You are doing great 🙂 -Bethany

  • mkkesk

    I’ve never thought much about going to college. I always figured I’d do something else and I don’t have much interest in college, but this post has reminded me that I need to pray, pray, pray a bunch in the few years I have left in high school and think about what I will do after (because I haven’t put much thought into that either).

  • Kay

    I finished my sophomore year of high school last school year, and I will be working on some dual-enrollment classes with Liberty Online this summer through my Senior year of high school. Then I will finish my education degree, which will only be two years, on the Liberty campus. I love taking advantage of online classes, but I also feel that I want to actually go to Liberty to be encouraged by the professors, students, pastors, counselors, etc. there. It’s also a way for me to branch out on my own and learn to be dependent in life. I enjoyed reading what you had to say, though! It made me think about why I wanted to go to campus in a few years, even though I’ll be going as a college Junior.

  • Elizabeth Williams

    I ALWAYS wanted to go to college and definitely would have. I got sick with a chronic illness when I was 15 so I guess you could say that not going to college wasn’t a choice that I made, but a choice that was made for me. Now, at 23, I can’t say that I completely understand it, but I definitely see how God has used me these past few years and has grown my faith. And I’m so thankful for that! People still mention to me about taking online classes, but it’s just not something I feel led to do right now. And I know that God’s plans are WAY better than mine 🙂

  • Melissa Van Den Assem

    I am 21. When I was done homeschooling 4 years ago, I didn’t know what to do. I like studying, so I would’ve liked college or university. But I had nothing I wanted to go for and never really had a desire to go. My parents also discourage going unless it’s necessary for a specific career. I had a job milking cows all through high school and knew my boss would be sad if I quit to go to college, so I kept my job. A while later I was asked by someone I knew to pick eggs for them at their chicken barn, and I did that for a few years. I also picked up a few house cleaning jobs. I took a reflexology class. And just this year I started my own company making homemade natural skincare products! I am also at home a lot of the day helping around the house, in our vegetable garden, and teaching my 12 yr. old sister school.

  • Liz H

    SO good, Bethany!! I see sooo many girls (and guys, for that matter) head of to college on auto-pilot, without asking why. This post was awesome.

  • Belle

    I just finished my freshman year of high school and I know it’s Gods will for me to not go to college but personally I have a lot against college all it leads to is debts loans corruption and a degree that u can’t even get a job for college is not what it used to be and I think that’s what people need to understand

  • Almost-Done Highschooler

    LOVE this. I have been stressing over college and SATs and all the rest that comes with it since my freshman year of highschool and may I say: I CANNOT STAND IT ANY LONGER. I am going into my senior year (of hs) and I am FINALLY coming to terms that I take wayy to much control over my life. We probably all do. We get worried, excited, inpatient, stressed and totally forget to ask and listen to God. I think THAT is the key issue when it comes to decisions about college or anything else. Of course, you should probably visit some colleges, and be prepared for it, but ultimately – our lives are meant to glorify God. And in order to glorify Him, we need to know what His will for our lives is. And honestly, It makes it SO much easier if we patiently prepare for anything while we attentively listen to God and follow His path for our lives. I still don’t know what I’m planning on yet, because I am still trying to still myself to listen to Him, still trying to decide what I would like to do occupation wise and making sure that it lines up with His will. I 100% agree with this post. Girldefined – You should make a post about listening to God. It is such a hard concept. I know I struggle with it. It’s not always easy to make sure you aren’t just listening to your own thoughts. and it would be helpful for this post. It’s hard to make big decisions, and harder yet to make them without God. 🙂

  • Arwen Undómiel

    ok. I don’t really want to attend college but my parents want me too. I will taking college online through CollegePlus and not going to a building. That said. In today’s world it’s hard to get a good job without a college degree. Possible but hard. And my parents bring up that one day I might get married and my husband may die or be unable to work for a time. We will need income. .

    • Arwen Undómiel

      Because ya know. You need money to survive.

      • Eruanna Thranduilion

        Hii! As to your comment on you can’t really survive with out college (not to sound like a know it all) you can! I know people that didn’t finish college or didn’t go and they have still been blessed and they have more than enough to provide for their family! It’s all about what God wants for you.! Also love your account name!

  • Bela

    Hi, I’m brazilian and I really like reading your blog. I wished I could go to an christian college, but where I live this is so hard, the only good one is very expensive, I don’t have that money and is very far from home. But my parents said that I have to go to college. I have 18 years now, is my first year of a community college (in my country they are the best ones), I study journalism and I like the class, but I don’t like the college. I’m not sure if I’m going to the right way, I pray a lot and I know that God will answer me. I’m really glad that you wrote this, I think that some how He is using your blog to talk to me! Thanks! And I’m sorry if I wrote anything wrong, I’m still learning english…

  • Sandra Gomez

    I am 25 years old and chose not to go on to college after graduating high school. I had many reasons. I didn’t have those goals everyone else seemed set on pursuing. My own dreams for my life included raising a family of my own. Still single I have times when I question my decisions. I have not had a job in all these years after high school. And struggle with guilt sometimes, esp, when I read that scripture ” if a man will not work he will not eat.” I keep praying for God to fulfill His purpose for me and not to let other peoples opinion shame me. I tried community college after 3 or 4 years of doing nothing, but ended up quitting. I don’t want to start something else to just quit. I’m still waiting on the Lord praying He will direct my path. I have to remind myself when well meaning people try to tell me about going to college. If God has something for me to do that requires college He will continue to work in my life and as Isaiah 60:22 says ,he will hasten it in His time. What is it? I don’t know I can only put my trust in Him.

  • Karie Neutel

    I am considering going to Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario for my Bachelor of Arts in International Development. I really feel that God is calling me to missions. However, I have faced criticism from friends who say that my desire to go to university should not be my focus because it isn’t practical in the sense that I will not be able to get married and have children immediately in that field. They say that I won’t be fulfilling my duty as a Christian woman because my role is to follow my husband. However, I truly feel that this is what I am meant to do… I understand that this will definitely affect my availability because I can really only marry someone that is in my field. Am I making the right decision? Or should I look for mission opportunities in my hometown as they suggested? I am really confused at what is expected of me and if I am choosing the option that is part of God’s plan. Am I wrong for entering this field without a man to guide me?
    Please lend me some advice! 🙂

    • Princess4Hvn

      Go where God leads you. You don’t have to wait to be married. Remember, marriage is not our goal, honouring God is.
      I have a friend who is a missionary in Papua New Guinea. She followed God’s call. She says single ladies face challenges that couples don’t, but it’s with it. Remember God is able to provide for you and to protect you. It’s great that you have a heart for mission! Reneger to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). If a husband is included in “these things” then trust that God can lead him to you. He can bring someone who will be a great partner in mission.
      I’ve heard stories of couples meeting on the mission field. I was also recently involved in a wedding where the guy wasn’t sure if he should go on a year’s mission, as he had a certain lady in his sights (but they were not in a relationship yet). He prayed and sought counsel. He went. The lady wasn’t ready for him yet. However, not too long after he returned, they stated a relationship and now they’re married.
      Trust your future to God and follow Him s step by step.

  • thehappygirl

    Amen to online courses Bethany! They require a little more effort than a traditional seated class, but it’s worth it! You don’t have to be exposed to “college culture” and all of the sinfulness that goes along with that. If I had it to do over again, I would have opted for an online education instead of the community college I attended.

  • Melissa

    I just read the post and I was shocked about the thought of not considering college. I am just wondering maybe your academic setup is far different from ours, I am a Filipino and I am currently living in the Philippines. I will be turning 21 this year and I already finished my college degree and already passed the board exam and now I already have a good job. So I was just curious and confused about the topic. But I want to agree that asking God first for what He wants you to do and who He wants you to be should be our priority. He always knows best and He wants everything to work for our good and His glory. Anyway, thanks for encouraging me to go outside the box and it’s applicable not just on this topic but every time we are tempted to just go with the flow. 😀

    • Rachel

      I totally agree with you. I don’t get why focus only in the “dark side” of college, maybe it’s a cultural thing (I’m Venezuelan) but I do think that we should pray about such an important decision.

  • Eruanna

    Thanks for this post! I new online college existed but never really took it into consideration! I’m nowhere near college but it is nice to have reassurance that I don’t need it!

  • Princess4Hvn

    I am 21 and haven’t attended university yet. During my high school (homeschooled) years I got involved in children’s ministry, teaching the babies at church, leading out in Vacation Bible School, assisting my Mom in teaching Bible in schools, as well as working part time. I didn’t want to go to university just because. Other girls went and dropped out realising they didn’t like their course of study. I didn’t want to waste time. I’m also careful to avoid debt.
    I tried different things to see which course to pursue without getting involved in full time study. I’ve done volunteer work or short introductory courses in several fields. This has eliminated most options. Now I’m left with possibly music, which I’m not sure about studying anymore because most people I’ve asked don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s hard to make a living from it unless you’re really good, or teach, which I’m not keen on.
    Now I’m thinking of doing what my Mom did. She got a degree in a field of interest, psychology. She never worked in that field, but the degree gave her respect and other jobs. I’m considering studying Christian Counseling online, as that is a field of interest. Studying online is more my thing. Being a full time student in a university sounds like prison to me. I’d have to stop a lot ministry activities because my time is no longer mine.
    I wouldn’t mind not pursuing a degree, but it does earn you respect and opportunities. I just wish I didn’t have pressure from relatives and others in society. It’s like, My daughter is studying … and she is younger than you. When are you going to do something?
    One thing that helped me was when a friend introduced me to someone he knew. He didn’t say what my profession was. He gave my name and then listed all the things I do for God, my “primary occupation”. Now when people ask what I do, I remember that I don’t need to feel inferior. I start telling them how God is working in the lives of people I serve, and that leads to more exciting conversations.
    It’s good to be reminded that other young women are facing the same pressure and also trusting God to lead, even if it goes against the norm. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • MissIndecisive

    HI, I recently decided to drop out of college. I was one of those who went on to college after high school because I felt like I had to, because it was normal, and because I didn’t know what else to do. Now I am in my 3rd year of college, and I have changed my major so many times that I will have to stay in college for another 3 years just to finish a Bachelors degree. I have been miserable and tired and have found no fulfillment or purpose in college. I thought this was God’s calling for me, but I guess I was wrong. I’m still confused about that, but I know God wouldn’t be giving me these thoughts and feelings if they weren’t true.

    After 1 year of school, I have acquired $20,000 in student loan debt. Let me say that one more time. 1 year of college = I owe $20,000, This is ridiculous. Why is college shoved in the face of every young adult? I was always told college is the only option, that if I don’t go, I’m going to have a hard, miserable life because I won’t get a good job without a degree. That is such a lie!

    If you are struggling with the decision of quitting college, just think about why you are in school, and if you can’t think of a good enough reason to stay, then quit or take a break from school. Get a job, get some experience, and enjoy life without the pressures of college. I can’t wait to be free and to finally start my life. (And start paying off my loans, sadly)

    Thank you so much, Bethany for writing this. More young adults need to know that college isn’t the only option. There are so many opportunities in life, and God will lead you to the one he has specifically chosen for YOU.

  • Gillian Naomi

    Hello!

    Last year I had a big decision to make: go to college or stay home. It was one of the most stressful and burdensome choices I’ve had to make since becoming an adult. All of my friends would be out of state in school, so I would essentially have to completely start over in the friendship department. I was scared and not ready to ‘give up’ those friendships and comforts. Distraught, I sought God for clarity and wisdom. After quite a bit of prayer and talking with my mother, I decided to stay home and wait for whatever God has for me. Fast forward a few months and all my friends were gone. My Bible study girls, my support group and my prayer warriors. As a result, I would often lay in bed at night and wonder if I had made a huge mistake or wonder if I heard God incorrectly.

    I was in a bad place, I had two jobs that were not ideal, and after a lot of prayer and guidance from family members, I resigned from them. I felt like God had completely forgotten about me and I could not believe how far ‘behind’ I was compared to everyone else my age. I was confident that I would have to work at a job I hate for the rest of my life to pay bills. I was sure that the only things God would have for me would be an occasional mission trip or ministry opportunity. I was exhausted-emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. So, after some sulking and anger, I had decided to pick myself up off the ground. Shortly after I found out that the hospital my mother works at was offering an EMT certification course that following month. With nothing better to do, I signed up. I didn’t know what would come of it, but I needed something to fill my days up.

    Little did I know- that class (God ultimately) would change everything for me.

    To my complete and utter amazement, I am a blessed, exhausted, joyful, and passionate EMT student who eventually wants to pursue a career as a Paramedic. I never in a million years thought I would ever consider Para-medicine, yet alone have a passion and excitement for it!
    I thought that college was the only route to happiness, passion and fulfilling God’s call and plan for my life. It’s not. God is. God knows the deepest parts of me and YOU- good and bad. He knows our yesterdays and my tomorrows.
    He knew all about that class, the people I would meet, the patients I would cry with and laugh with, and the friendships I would make.
    I am grateful for a God that invests and loves unconditionally.
    God knew my heart, He watched out for me, protected me and ignited a passion for EMS and 911 I never knew I had.

    I cannot say this enough to my beloved sisters in Christ- college is not the only route and it is definitely not the only way to find out and fulfill God’s plan for your life! Be patient. Seek wise counsel. Work hard and focus on the gifts and talents God has given you.
    He will make your path known when it is time!

    Much love and blessings,
    Gillian

    {Thank you for this blog post! It was wonderfully written.}

  • Mimi

    Well, I’m 14 and don’t plan on going to college. I’ve prayed lots and I don’t think that God wants me to go. I have a very ambitious, Christan boyfriend who plans on marrying me. Since I want to be a wife and mother I personally don’t see a point in wasting 4 yrs of my life in a classroom when I could be cultivating my religion and my relationship with Jesus. Thanks for the other options sister!

    • katie

      Having something to fall back on in case your husband is injured is always a good idea. You could try a trade school.

    • Shepherd’s Handmaiden

      You’re 14 (maybe 15 now?). I’d advise you to keep your mind open to what God has for you. You may feel like God is leading you somewhere now, but it may change. Its wise to have a plan in case you don’t end up getting married right away. I’d *love* to get married but I have plans on how to spend my life if I don’t. I have a college I’m interested in and ministry options as well. Just keep your mind and heart open!

  • Hello !, I’ve been reading your blog is really a help, some time ago I graduated from college but my decision to study it has two sides: A side of rebellion (bad I know now) and wanted the ability to help the people, the career I chose was systems, I looked for it when I was 10 years old, I heard that it was possible to solve problems, create solutions and help people in different ways with a computer, I did not understand how but with time I have given account of the tool that is and of the opportunity that God has given me.

  • Rachel

    I’ve been studying at the university for several years now. My parents and I prayed about it and I studied very hard for the admission exam without even thinking about anything else. I was admitted in the first try.

    I wanted to study a different thing, but I didn’t because I couldn’t do it at that time. So I decided to study languages (I’ve always wanted to learn English), and that’s what I am doing right now. However, I don’t want to be a teacher for some personal reasons (I study languages with educative purposes), but having a degree in modern languages will open me doors in mostly any work field. I’m getting interested in translation, but I am not still sure about my future after graduation. I’m going on an internship abroad next year, and I feel that that will decide my future. I admit I need to pray more about this whole thing, but I can say that going to the university was part of God’s plan for me. He has opened me more doors in this matter than I can count. He has put his grace in me and some people have decided to help me when I’ll leave the country.

    I have faced difficulties. But not exactly those you point out here. In my country access to education is free, so I have ZERO debt. I go to home every weekend and I attend every Sunday to the same church I’ve been going to the last 12 years. Peer/teachers pressure? Not at all. Teachers respect their students’ beliefs, and if they’d don’t, they could get in trouble. (The law protects people’s religious beliefs)

    About my difficulties, well those are more about the struggles related to our social/economical/political situation, like riots or not having enough money for food or anything because every existing thing goes more and more and more expensive each day. It has nothing to do with college in itself, but it affects us students in several ways These problems didn’t exist when I started the university and they are temporal. I believe that God will do something great with Venezuela and this entire nightmare will soon end, but that’s another subject.

    I don’t regret following the culture’s expected path –as you put it- even though the difficult times. I don’t think that doing sometime because it’s normal is a bad thing for everyone or that all of us should think outside the box in every matter. I do think that we should put everything in God’s hands and pray about the decisions of our lives, in that matter I agree with you. However, there are certain things that are culturally different in my country, so they are irrelevant for us (like getting worried about the debts and so on) and there are other problems we must face instead. I’d rather would recommend to seek Good’s will first and not taking a decision we’ll regret later because we decided doing or no doing what someone else told us.


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