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AG myths busted

Myth: The level of education is not what I could get at a public institution.

Fact: Assemblies of God schools offer high-quality education. Faculty members are highly trained in their specific fields. Twelve of the 19 AG schools are regionally accredited, which means they hold to the same standards of excellence in organization and classroom education as any state school.

There are many who argue strongly that undergraduate education, especially in courses for freshmen and sophomores, is best done in the context of a smaller school in that student/faculty ratios are usually lower. Plus, on many state college and university campuses, teaching assistants teach lower division courses. These TAs are usually students themselves without full teaching qualifications. On most AG college campuses, professors with many years of experience (many with earned doctorates) teach freshman courses.

Myth: As a student at an AG college, I can’t get into a competitive internship.

Fact:Many AG schools have seen their students earn very competitive internships. For example, Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., has seen four of its students serve as official White House interns since 2002.

Myth: Faculty at Christian institutions are underqualified.

Fact:Faculties at AG schools hold the highest of academic qualifications. Some of the schools have a majority of their faculty with earned doctorates.

But faculties at AG schools not only hold the highest of academic qualifications, they also take seriously their role of spiritual mentors.

Myth: AG colleges aren’t academically strong or diverse. Students just study the Bible.

Fact: At all accredited AG schools, every student is required to complete general education requirements. Even in AG schools that only offer Bible or church leadership majors, students take academically rigorous general education courses.

Though it is true that at every AG school every student will finish with at least a minor in Bible or theology, AG schools offer a very diverse selection of majors. (These can be accessed at: www.colleges.ag.org.)

North Central University offers 33 majors including business administration, social work, recording arts and sports management. Approximately half of Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s enrollment is attributed to programs such as business, education, and counseling psychology. Evangel University offers more than 100 undergraduate degree programs, as well as eight graduate programs.

Myth: AG schools don’t offer strong, competitive athletic programs.

Fact: Most AG colleges and universities offer a variety of athletic programs. These include football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, women’s volleyball, and cheerleading. AG college sports teams have won national, regional and conference championships and have been nationally ranked.

Myth: Students who attend AG schools are at a disadvantage in their chosen careers.

Fact: Though AG schools may not have as wide a reputation as larger, well-known state schools, students from AG schools continue to be well accepted in the workplace and careers. In fact, many employers know that graduates from AG schools have not only been taught “how to make a living,” but also “how to live.” Honesty and hard work have been modeled by AG school graduates, thus providing a solid reputation to employers for future grads.

Graduates of AG schools have also seen success in admittance to prestigious graduate schools.

In a survey, 90 percent of North Central graduates said they are now in careers or graduate studies that they trained for at NCU. CBC alumni have not only started life-changing ministries around the world, but many have also gone on to start successful businesses, become state legislators, and even work in Hollywood. At Evangel, many of the graduates are recruited by employers who have been impressed by other Evangel graduates.

Myth: AG colleges are all about study and prayer. Students don’t have any fun.

Fact: Each AG school operates under the principle that Jesus came to give us abundant life. Laughter and fun are part of the Christian life (or at least should be), and the students continue to testify that an AG school is a great place to go to enjoy education!

Take Vanguard University for example. Vanguard students enjoy surfing, bonfires on the beach, all-school parties, concerts, theater performances, attending major league sporting events, and trips to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm — all that being located in a Southern California coastal city has to offer.

Myth: I can’t afford to go to an AG school.

Fact:There is a wide range of scholarships available to students, both in undergraduate and graduate programs, and the number of scholarships continues to increase. Financial aid officers at each school should be contacted for details. For example, Evangel awarded nearly $24 million in financial aid for the 2007-08 school year. The vast majority of Evangel students receive financial assistance.

The Alliance for AG Higher Education office is also developing new scholarships for students who wish to attend any AG school, including graduate schools.

It’s important to note that AG colleges, though private, competitively rank with the cost of many state universities. North Central’s total estimated cost for the past academic year was approximately $18,500. By comparison, University of Minnesota (also located in Minneapolis) cost $17,900 for Minnesota residents and $21,900 for nonresidents.

Myth: AG schools do not offer full-tuition or other substantial scholarships and grants to help pay for my education.

Fact: Most AG schools offer some type of full-tuition scholarship. More and more scholarships are being offered, and financial aid officers should be contacted. Some scholarships are left “unfilled” simply because no one inquired about them.

Evangel awards many different types of scholarships and grants to first-time and returning students. Annually, two full-tuition and 10 half-tuition scholarships are awarded to incoming freshmen and are renewable for up to four years. Evangel also offers a variety of performance scholarships for music, forensics and athletics.

Myth: Students from out of state will pay a higher out-of-state tuition rate.

Fact: Not so! You pay the same affordable tuition rate regardless of the state from which you come.

Myth: You don’t need a degree to go into ministry.

Fact: While we “can do all things through Christ” who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13), we have a responsibility to be faithful with the call of God on our lives. Faithfulness with that call requires successful preparation. Earning a degree is like having a trusted institution (and its trusted leaders) testify that you have successfully completed the preparation process to which you have given yourself. The place of your preparation will always reflect the quality of it.

A degree earned at an AG school will also prepare the AG minister to possibly attend graduate school, should that desire ever arise in the life of the minister. We pray that all AG leaders would be lifelong learners!

Myth: There are not enough opportunities to travel and study abroad at AG schools.

Fact: Two new models are just beginning: The Alliance for AG Higher Education office will begin offering three-week study courses in Israel for 75-100 church leadership majors from AG schools each year. Partial scholarships will be available for this new program, led by Dr. Debbie Gill, professor at AGTS.

Second, Southeastern University has announced the purchase of facilities in Israel that will serve as the headquarters for a study program for SEU in Israel. The plan is that every church leadership major at SEU will study for a semester in Israel.

Myth: You have to be affiliated with the Assemblies of God to attend an AG school.

Fact: Students at AG schools must be Christians who are faithfully following Jesus, but they need not be affiliated with an AG church. Some of our schools, in fact, have sizable numbers of students who do not attend an AG church.

Myth: AG schools are not technologically advanced, and the buildings are old.

Fact:AG schools continue to be equipped with the best technological equipment available. Though some are better equipped than others, all are committed to technological advancement.

If anyone thinks all AG buildings are old, they haven’t visited many AG schools. Many of our schools have just completed major building projects in the last few years or are now in the process of erecting new facilities.

Zion Bible College has just moved to a new campus with totally refurbished facilities. Trinity Bible College, Northwest University, Southwestern AG University, Southeastern University and others have all seen new buildings built in the last few years. During recent years of campus improvements, Evangel classrooms have been outfitted with projection, sound, computers and electronic podiums. There are 30 computer labs, state-of-the-art science and technology labs, and wireless Internet access on campus.


Myths and facts supplied by participating AG schools and The Alliance for AG Higher Education.

E-mail your comments to tpe@ag.org.

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