Friday, August 12, 2016

What moves people to go to legalistic colleges?

Yesterday, while I was wasting the afternoon getting wasted, I found myself watching promotional videos from Hyles-Anderson College.  Hyles-Anderson College, for those who don't know, is a fundamentalist Baptist college in Hammond, Indiana.  It was founded in 1972, the year I was born.  People who attend Hyles-Anderson College are usually coming from very Christian households and have plans to be ministers, missionaries, or church musicians.  Most of them are probably used to the many rules required for attending a strict religious school.

HAC promotional video.

The videos I watched from HAC were interesting.  I could tell the current chancellor was trying very hard to make the place look fun.  There were lots of shots of students praying, involved in musical events, and even taking part in what looked like fun and games.  It was a little disturbing to note all of the men wearing black suits and jewelry and all the women wearing long skirts and dresses.

Some time ago, I used to hang out on a messageboard for people who attended Pensacola Christian College.  I actually found that messageboard fascinating.  Most of the people who were posting there were very bright.  And yet a lot of them had willingly attended PCC, a place where women are expected to stop and put on a skirt or at least a robe if the fire alarm goes off while they're sleeping.  This is true, even if you happen to be injured and having trouble walking.

PCC is a place where you can get demerits for having tissue in your trash can before room inspection.  This is a place where you even have room inspections!  And people are actually PAYING for this.  The PCC Student Voice messageboard went kerfluey a long time ago, but you can still read about the craziness of attending college there.  There is also a PCCBoard forum, which isn't as interesting as the old forum was.

Bob Jones University is yet another super Christian school.  It was probably the very first I had ever heard of.  I was especially interested in it because I went to graduate school in South Carolina.  It's been my understanding that BJU has lightened up somewhat since back in the day, though they still have their rules.  The person who got the letter I linked was in trouble because someone overheard him or her talking about enjoying contemporary Christian music.  CCM is not allowed at BJU.  And, being a worldly kind of person, I can't help but giggle at "BJU".  I guess my mind has been forever sullied by South Park.

Bear in mind, a lot of these legalistic super Christian colleges are not accredited.  Or, they are now becoming accredited because students are figuring out how important it is to have a diploma from a school that is recognized as offering a quality education.  The catch is, the schools are becoming accredited by organizations that aren't necessarily recognized or accepted by mainstream colleges and universities.  Sometimes that means that the diploma is barely worth the paper it's printed on.

I know college isn't always just about being prepared for employment.  That's sure not how it worked out for me, anyway.  I count my college years as very valuable for many reasons, even though none of my degrees have really landed me in a lucrative career.  I guess I see my college years as a place to finish maturing, although it took several years beyond college before I felt like that had actually happened.  

18 year old me probably wouldn't have enjoyed having to "scan out" of campus or take chaperones along on dates, not that I had very many dates.  I wouldn't have liked to have been told what I could and couldn't wear.  Yet yesterday, I ran across Dale Fincher's fascinating writings and videos about what it was like to attend PCC in the 1990s.  In the link I just posted, Fincher talks about getting in trouble for going through a drive through after taking friends to donate blood.  He had not signed out to go to lunch.  He also got in trouble for playing illegal music in his car.  What he was playing was music by Christian singer David Meese, who was apparently not on the approved list.  After he got busted, Fincher had to turn in all of his music to the dean.  Again... people are PAYING for this.

So why do people sign up for this?  I really don't know.  I guess it's a good thing for those who want that kind of structure.  It sounds crazy to me, though.  Especially since so many people who attend these schools seem reasonably intelligent.  Give me my secular public college any day.


  1. I don't know why anyone would sign on for such garbage either. Maybe they've been brought up in Duggar-like environments in which even adult children defer to parents. Perhaps some of them also lack the financial means to do much of anything without parental help. I got through college on merit-based scholarships, so I don't really know much about financial aid and FAFSA and all of that, but it's supposedly tough to declare financial independence from parents' income in seeking financial aid until some magical age. (23? 24? 25? I don't know what it is.) It can be done, but it's supposedly about as hard as becoming an emancipated minor.

    1. I knew people in college who did all they could to b emancipated so they would get more aid. It was hard even back then.


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