SOME MYTHS ABOUT APPLYING TO SEMINARY

Dr. David “Dave” Behrs, VP of Enrollment Management, Interim Director of Alumni Relations

Some Myths on Applying to Seminary

Seminary is only for pastors and missionaries. Fifty years ago, most seminarians were training for pastoral or chaplaincy ministries and missions. In the following decades, however, the definition of ministry has widened considerably, and seminary programs have expanded in step.

At SFTS, aside from our academic programs currently offered, there are a variety of vocations that our alumni/ae may pursue. Alumni/ae entering fields that are not typical ministry settings still seek to use their contexts for ministry. Social justice ministries, spiritual direction for non-profit agencies, spiritual and crisis counseling to name a few.

A degree in biblical studies is a prerequisite for SFTS. Just as people come to SFTS for all sorts of reasons, they also come from every background. Recent decades have seen a steady rise in the enrollment of “second-career” students who are leaving fields unrelated to ministry or want to integrate theological education into their professions. Some of our students come from large, secular universities or from a Christian university with a non-Bible, or Theology major. While having a bachelor’s degree in a related field may give you an advantage in some of your classes, it is certainly not a requirement.

You need to know your life plan before you enroll. Discernment is an important step in any major undertaking. However, the expectation that one’s path should or can be fully mapped out in advance is unrealistic. Life happens along the way, and everyone’s journey is different and unique.

Some students don’t yet have clarity about where God wants them in the future. They come with a strong desire to serve the Lord and to know more about him. It’s common for many seminaries to function as a catalyst for discerning God’s will. The application process at SFTS itself frequently aids discernment. Some of our applicants are coming to terms with God’s calling. During the admissions process, we provide counseling and assist students in choosing the most appropriate program

The admissions process weeds out all but the most highly qualified applicants. This myth is especially rooted in performance anxiety, and anticipates an adversarial relationship with admissions officers. But this, many seminary personnel agree, is a false representation. In fact, one of the best things about being on the admissions staff is the valuable relationships we are making with all of you that could last a lifetime.