Written By: Jessica McMann
Christian colleges were once known for their stringent rules and their curriculum that stuck to the core values which the Bible dictated. While there are still many schools that follow these seemingly out-dated practices (such as separating the men and women from colleges and implementing a nightly curfew), many Christian colleges have decided that they need to better adapt to the rest of the collegiate world in order to retain their status in the community. As a result, we have witnessed an evolution of Christian college in the past few years, straying away from old values and gradually accepting a more modern view of the college campus.
It was widely accepted fact only a few decades ago that men and women should not attend the same college, and especially not be seen together past nightfall. Christian colleges upheld this old-timey tradition for many years, guaranteeing parents that their children would not be distracted by the opposite sex during their years of college. This has since dwindled down to only a handful of Christian colleges, but many still linger with similar customs. My own liberal arts college had only a mild Methodist influence, but still insisted on implementing “visitation” curfews which began at midnight during the week. If a member of the opposite sex was in your room past this point, a myriad of different punishments awaited you – from being written up, to probation, possibly even expulsion. Being only down the road from a major state school, we realized that this curfew was only intended to ease the minds of parents and administrators and served little to no purpose in a modern setting. College kids do what they want to do.
As a result, many of these “curfew” rules are rarely enforced because of the lack of substance that now goes into them. However, many devout Christian colleges are able to abide by these rules even in this age because of the structure of their curriculum. Students who enroll in these schools are aware of their seemingly strict policies: no alcohol, no opposite sex encounters at night, no profanity, etc. Taken in context, these are not really high demands, and are the types of rules most parents enforce when their college kids come home anyway. However, in order to continue their existence, most Christian colleges have toned down their rules. Most schools that were strictly for women or strictly for men have now become co-ed, and mixing the sexes at night no longer has the terrible connotations it once had. With the passing of time comes the relaxation of rules that were meant to appeal to a different generation. It is difficult enough for Christian colleges in this era to attract students, and many have had to stray away from their initial foundations in order to bring in a substantial student population.
While there will always be Christian colleges that exist solely to appeal to students who want to go into seminary school or missionary work, many Christian colleges have adapted to the new age of college life, an adaptation which does not mean a renunciation of their core values.