What is college for? For us at PacRim, it is about helping our students to lay a strong foundation for the rest of their lives as Christians.
I know that a lot of people see the purpose of college differently. Because of the high cost of a college education, more and more people are looking at college as a financial investment. As a result, they want to know about the return on their investment. How much money will their sons and daughters make after they graduate? For these people, the purpose of college is to get a good job and make more money. They encourage their sons and daughters to major in fields that have high-paying jobs.
Certainly, students need to get jobs and make their way in the world. But focusing on specific fields or jobs is a high-risk strategy today. The job market keeps changing. A job that exists when a student is a freshman may no longer exist when the student is a senior. Even if the job exists, the student may not be able to get one. A degree in a field does not guarantee that a student will get a job in that field. I am not surprised that data suggest that half of all Americans do not currently have jobs that relate to their college majors.
Here at PacRim, we see this issue differently. Our students are Christians who are serious about their faith. Their college years are a special time for them to prepare to serve the Lord, whatever the Lord may call them to do. We expect that they may be called to do many different things, in different sectors, during their careers. They may work in churches, schools, businesses, government agencies, or nonprofit organizations. Over an entire career, they might even work in all of those sectors. But whatever they do, we know that they want to do it as Christians, authentically living their faith.
PacRim is here to help students do exactly that—to lay a strong foundation for their lives as Christians. Our students take at least ten Bible courses, for a strong foundation in the Word. They study church history, church doctrine, and theology. They create and lead worship services. They deepen their knowledge and their faith. So when they graduate, they can approach each job the way a Christian would approach it, as an opportunity to use their gifts to advance the Kingdom of God.
Dr. Kent M. Keith