With over 1,200 Bible schools and colleges in the United States and Canada alone, it can be difficult to choose just one to attend. For some students, size is a main concern. Large school may not always offer as much individual attention, but they do afford you more freedoms and give you more options in terms of majors, degree programs, student activities, and special events. Bible colleges are traditionally small, but if you’re looking for a large school, there are a few in America that might fit the bill.
Located in Virginia, Liberty University is the largest evangelical university in the world, thanks in part to its robust online course offerings. Over 60,000 students attend Liberty University every year, and the college, which was founded in the 1970s as Lynchburg Baptist College, has 60 degree programs (36 available online) from which students can choose. The school’s Lynchburg campus is home to about 13,400 undergraduate students, with several thousand more taking classes online and participating in the school’s graduate school programs. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and its law school is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. At this college, you can also participate in one of the over 100 registered school clubs or organizations, and some of the academic programs available include philosophy and religion, English, education, music ministry, nursing, computer sciences, and engineering – the school provides a Christian education, but a broad range of majors which include both theology-related and general topics.
Moody Bible Institute
Although significantly smaller than Liberty University, if you’re looking for a more traditional Bible college, one of the largest in the United States is Moody Bible Institute, which is home to about 2,700 students annually. This college is located in Chicago, Illinois and offers a variety of programs: certificate, associate’s bachelor’s, and master’s. This college is regionally accredited, as well as a member of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Unlike many Bible colleges, Moody Bible Institute is a co-ed school located in a large city, which gives students many more opportunities than is normally possible at a Bible school. Like Liberty, Moody also offers classes online, though with this college, only about 15 per cent of students take distance education classes. Some of the degree areas you can consider at Moody include music, education, linguistics, bible studies, theology, and pastoral counseling. About 75 percent of their bachelor’s degree students choose a religious-related major.
Texas Christian University
A good mix between Liberty University and Moody Bible Institute is Texas Christian University. With about 7,800 students annually, this school is much bigger than traditional Bible colleges, but it still offers a Christian environment, as well as a number of religious-related degree programs and specialties. Texas Christian University, otherwise known as TCU, is located in Fort Worth and offers programs starting at the certificate and associate’s degree level and going right up through the doctorate degree level. Specific programs that you might want to check out include journalism, education, psychology, farm/ranch management, music, chemistry, and economics. For students interested in religion, the school offers a religious studies major, as well as a major in religious/sacred music. In all, there are over 100 degree programs you can consider if you attend TCU, as well a specialized programs like the ROTC, study abroad, and the Washington D.C. semester.
Should I Attend a Large School?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to attending a large Bible college in the United States. Make sure you understand both points of view before choosing a college.
- More degree and major options
- More student activities and special programs
- Large facilities
- More personal freedom
- Less of a concentration on religion
- Less personal attention as a student
- Less of an opportunity to know your classmates
In short, at a larger college, you’ll have more opportunities, while at a smaller college, you’ll feel less like a number and more like a priority to your professors. Instead of making a decision when you start your college search, why not visit campuses for both large and small schools? That way, you’ll get a taste of what life is like for students. Although you may think you want to go to a large school today, you’ll typically find that traditional Bible colleges have less than 1000 students enrolled – and for you, this might be the better option. Make a list of the qualities that are important to you in a college and as you visit campuses, take notes so you’re prepared to compare schools before applying.