Choosing a Seminary

Many factors can play into your decision—recommendations from people you trust, proximity, reputation, community, and so on.  As you pray through this decision, the following questions may be helpful in determining what you are looking for in a school. Once you’ve determined the factors most important to you, they can shape the rest of your search process and aid you in figuring out which school is the best fit for you.

Theological Perspective:

Which beliefs or confessions does the seminary hold as true and important?
How does this fit with what you believe?
Is it a unified or diverse theological system?
How will that impact your education?

Academic Philosophy:

What goal does the seminary desire to accomplish in and by education its students?
Does the seminary take an active role in spiritual formation?
What is your impression of the seminary's academic quality?
How challenging are the academics? How many hours a week do students spend studying?
How much reading is required in the average 3-semester-hour course? How much writing? How does testing work?
What departments and specialties does the seminary offer? Will it equip you to do what you think God is calling you to do?
How is the curriculum laid out?
How intense are the studies in Greek and Hebrew? Do graduates know their languages?
How are students equipped to preach?

Faculty:

What is the faculty/student ratio?
How many hours per week does the average student spend with faculty members?
Does the faculty seem available?
Are they easily accessible?
Do students and faculty pray together?
What are the specialties of the faculty members?
What are their classroom styles?

Denominational Affiliation:

Do you want a seminary associated with a church denomination?
Are there churches of your denomination in the area?
What are the churches in the area like?

Cost:

Tuition:___________
Rent:___________
What is the cost of living in the area?
What kind of insurance is available through the seminary?
What will be your financial strategy?
Options for financial aid:
Jobs on campus/in the area:

Housing:

Is there inexpensive housing on or near campus?
What is the on-campus living situation like?

Spiritual Life:

What is your impression of the seminary's spiritual life?
How does the community live out its relationship with God outside of classes?
What is chapel like?
What kind of prayer groups are on campus?

Community Life:

Where are the students from?
How friendly are the students?
How easy is it to get involved?
What can your spouse do to get involved?

The City:

Where will you send your kids to school?
What is it like raising a family in the city?
What is the culture of the area?

Experience:

What kind of ministry internships or opportunities are available?
How can I get preaching/teaching experience?

Placement:

What kind of jobs do most students enter upon graduation?
What does the seminary do to facilitate the placement of its graduating students?

Marriage and Family Therapy Questions:

Is the program accredited?
How many hours of face to face counseling with clients are required?
Where do students fulfill these hours?
How many hours are supervised?
How do professors view psychology?
What do they believe Scripture's role is in the counseling field?


Preseminary Reading List - If you'd like to continue thinking through where you want to study, these books can be a great way to get started. And don't worry, there is not an expectation that you will have them all read before you come.