University teaches you more than how to take a test

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Some people have the unfortunate idea that university is only about gaining knowledge to pass tests or write papers. Whenever I hear someone talk about how universities just want to make money off of students without actually preparing them for the real world, it really bums me out.

While colleges and universities might have developed a reputation as institutions of academia, as a university president, I’ve consistently worked to fight that stereotype and identify ways that our University can equip and develop students for their missional path. The truth is that we have four years to provide students with as many resources as possible to prepare them for the rest of their life. When you think about it, that’s not a lot of time at all.

Thankfully, our faculty and staff share the same passion, and together, we’re working to prepare students for life after university instead of just simply preparing them to make an A on the next test. Here are a few results of our efforts so far:

SEU Worship album

This year, dozens of SEU students from our worship team came together to record and produce a live worship album of their own original songs. Produced by Hillsong the album reached the Top 10 on the iTunes Christian/Gospel charts after it was released this spring. I can honestly say the recording of the Monday night worship service was one of the coolest moments I’ve experienced in my entire career, and it was definitely something I will never forget.

For our students, it was an opportunity to get practical experience in leading worship and creating an album. Not many students can say they’ve written and recorded an album before they graduated university, but our students can.

Students ‘connect’ to grow and develop

This year, our Connect Program absolutely exploded, connecting hundreds of students to professors and members of our staff to learn about things that might not be covered in their curriculum. Instead of formal meetings, these times were often filled with sharing life stories and building relationships. Over the past year, our mentors shared how they have struggled and failed, how they make major life decisions, and other topics. The thing I loved most about the Connect Program is that it showed students their mentors are normal people who have overcome some of the same things they are struggling with as they work to identify their divine design.

These conversations would never have taken place inside a classroom, and I’m excited to see how the future of our program grows and develops as we continually look for new ways to equip students to go out and live their divine design.

What are some other great ways universities are equipping and developing students beyond the classroom?