Orlando Admissions FAQ
- Do you have to be Reformed to attend RTS?
- If I am an international student, what other application materials do I need to send in?
- How do I get a job on or off campus?
- Where will I live?
- Will I be able to work while in seminary?
- How hard are the classes?
- What is the average class size?
- How available are the professors to students after class?
- What do I need to do to apply?
- Is there an application deadline?
- When will I hear back from the application committee regarding my admission?
- I've been out of school for a few years, who can I get to do my academic reference?
- I go to a huge church and I don't really know any of the pastors, can I have someone else fill out my pastoral reference?
- I'm not sure which degree to pursue, can I switch after I start a degree program?
- Do classes transfer from other seminaries or Bible schools?
- If I took some Hebrew/Greek in college, can I get credit for that?
- I'm an international student, are there any extra Admissions requirements?
- Is the GRE required?
- Can I take classes at other RTS campuses? Or can I start at another campus and finish my degree at RTS Orlando?
- When will I hear about my financial aid award?
- Do you accept government grants/loans?
- How closely does RTS work with local churches?
- Can I do the MAC program part time?
- Do I have to start the MAC program in the summer?
1. Do you have to be Reformed to attend RTS?
No, you do not have to be "Reformed" in your theology to attend RTS Orlando. We have a wide range of students, who do not all come specifically from a Reformed theological perspective and we encourage students who come from different theological leanings or are not fully resolute on their stance regarding various theological positions to join us in seeking God's truth.
However, all of our professors do teach from a Reformed perspective and prepare students to engage in ministry from such a stance.
2. If I am an international student, what other application materials do I need to send in?
All non-native English speakers are required to send in official TOEFL scores to RTS. The institutional code for RTS Orlando is 9771. The minimum TOEFL score required is 80 on the internet-based test, a 213 on the computer-based test, or a 550 on the paper-based test. If you would like to ask for a waiver for the TOEFL score requirement on the basis of your English training/education, please send a request in writing with your application materials. Other requirements for international students include the RTS International Student Application supplemental forms and a letter from your home church signifying support of your going to RTS and a desire for you to return to minister in your home country. To obtain an I-20 from RTS, an international student must first be admitted and then demonstrate financial resources for one year of study. For more information, click here.
3. How do I get a job on or off campus?
Work study scholarships are a type of financial aid that can be applied for on the financial aid application. These are on campus jobs that are more flexible and convenient but do not pay a high pay rate. Once a student has been approved for work study, they must contact the Student Life Office to get on the work study list. Work study jobs are not guaranteed. The Transitions Coordinator may be able to offer resources to help students find off campus jobs.
4. Where will I live?
While RTS Orlando does not provide on-campus housing, we have available off-campus housing at the nearby Villas at Lakeside. We also maintain a record of available housing in the area. Contact the Transitions Coordinator at OrlandoCommunity@rts.edu to find out more about apartment complexes, houses for rent, real estate agents, or people looking for roommates.
5. Will I be able to work while in seminary?
Many students work part-time while in seminary, and how many hours they work depends on how many credit hours they are taking. Work study positions are available on-campus in the bookstore, admissions office, library, and maintenance department. Others may choose to work outside of RTS in churches or other local work settings. Contact our Transitions Coordinator for a list of local jobs at OrlandoCommunity@rts.edu. The main thing one should recognize is the balance between credit hours at school and hours at work. Realistically, it would be extremely difficult or impossible to do fulltime for both. It is just a matter of being realistic in knowing one's capacity and time availability.
6. How hard are the classes?
Class requirements offer both the depth and the challenge of Master's level work. Course reading lists, assignments and exams are often challenging but are designed with an understanding that students have lives outside of RTS. Furthermore, a majority of classes have teacher's assistants who have previously been in the class and know well the specific pitfalls in understanding a course may have. Often, TA's will lead study sessions outside of class as well as offer one-on-one help if needed. We would always recommed that a student familiarize themselves with the course syllabus soon after registering for a class.
7. What is the average class size?
Class sizes range from a dozen to seventy or eighty students. An average class size runs between thirty and forty.
8. How available are the professors to students after class?
In addition to the help provided by TA's as mentioned above, almost every instructor has posted office hours and most of our professors have open door policies. Also, in many cases, professors are available after classes for you to discuss materials.
9. What do I need to do to apply?
You can apply online or you can print out a copy of the application to fill out and mail in. Visit this webpage to get started!
The application process:
1. Fill out the application
2. Have someone fill out a pastoral reference
3. Have someone fill out an academic reference
4. Have someone fill out a general reference
5. On a separate page, type a comprehensive account of your conversion, your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, and your ministry experience in or outside the church (1 to 4 pages, double spaced).
6. On a separate page, type a careful explanation of your reasons for wishing to pursue the course of theological study that you are applying for (1-4 pages, double spaced).
7. Attach with the application $75 for application fee and a photo (optional).
10. Is there an application deadline?
Except for the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC), RTS has rolling admissions. For an applicant to make preparations to come, however, it is recommended that he or she has all application materials in at least a month before expected enrollment. International students applying for an F-1 visa are encouraged to apply six months prior to their expected start date. Please note that financial aid can only be considered after admission into a degree program.
11. When will I hear back from the application committee regarding my admission?
After all application materials are received by the Admissions Office, an applicant should receive a letter in the mail regarding their admission in 1-3 weeks.
12. I've been out of school for a few years, who can I get to do my academic reference?
The Admissions Committee prefers to receive an academic reference from a professor, so having someone who has taught you in an official capacity fill out the recommendation is the best course of action. However, if you have lost connections with any teachers or have been out of school five years or longer, then you can make this another general reference and have someone you respect fill this out for you.
13. I go to a huge church and I don't really know any of the pastors, can I have someone else fill out my pastoral reference?
The Admissions Committee prefers for a pastor to fill out the pastoral reference, especially with MDiv applicants. It can be an assistant pastor, if that person would know you better. If it's not possible to have a pastor fill this out, then it can be filled out by campus-ministry leaders, staff, elders, or even someone who has been a spiritual mentor. Preferably it is someone who has spiritual authority over the applicant.
14. I'm not sure which degree to pursue, can I switch after I start a degree program?
Yes. Many of our students change programs even years after starting. However, the requirements for your new degree program must still be met and sometimes that requires courses in addition to what you initially had anticipated.
15. Do classes transfer from other seminaries or Bible schools?
Transfer credits are all handled by the Academic Dean on a case by case basis. Whether or not your class work transfers from another seminary or not is dependant upon several factors such as the accreditation of the school, whether or not the courses you took are offered at RTS Orlando, whether they are required for your program at RTS Orlando, and so on and so forth. There is not usually a one-to-one correlation between seminaries in degree programs.
However, all courses taken with RTS virtual or at other RTS campuses will be accepted at RTS Orlando.
16. If I took some Hebrew/Greek in college, can I get credit for that?
If you are able to pass the Hebrew or Greek proficiency test you may receive advanced standing (not credit) for up to two semesters of each.
17. I'm an international student, are there any extra Admissions requirements?
Yes there are. International students are required to take the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) and score above a 213. In addition to this, international students must fill out all information of the International Student Application Supplement. You can visit our International Student page for more information.
18. Is the GRE required?
19. Can I take classes at other RTS campuses? Or can I start at another campus and finish my degree at RTS Orlando?
Sure, you can take up to 32 hours at any other accredited seminary (for the MA) so long as you take the necessary 34 hours at RTS Orlando. For the MDiv, 36 hours must be completed from RTS Orlando, up to 54 from another RTS branch (either another location, or RTS virtual), and up to 52 hours can be transferred from any other accredited seminary.
20. When will I hear about my financial aid award?
Depending on which financial aid review that an applicant has made it into, the applicant should receive a letter in the mail regarding his award or decline of financial aid approximately 3-4 weeks after the review deadline.
21. Do you accept government grants/loans?
Unfortunately, we do not. However, RTS students are welcome to research loans through their private financial institution.
22. How closely does RTS work with local churches?
We work closely with churches and denominations. Churches in the area provide internships for students and other opportunities for ministry and preaching. Most RTS students are involved in some form of ministry with a local church. Additionally, we encourage Church Partnerships where sending churches partner with you to provide part of your finances for seminary. RTS may match those financial gifts up to 1/3 the cost of tuition.
23. Can I do the MAC program part time?
The MAC program is only offered as a full-time program, so it is not possible to do the MAC program part time. However, it is possible to complete some of the Biblical/Theological studies electives as a Special Student part time before beginning the MAC program full time.
24. Do I have to start the MAC program in the summer?
Yes, the Counseling program begins in the Summer, and that is the only time when new students are allowed to enter the program.
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