This article appears in the President's Blog edition of the Calvin Seminary Forum
Beginning your online journey to a seminary degree may seem intimidating, but with the right preparation, you can thrive throughout your distance learning program.
Choosing Between Online Seminary Programs
The best way to set yourself up for success is to choose an online seminary program that is the right fit for your goals and learning style.
1. Stick with an Accredited Online Seminary
Accreditation provides external accountability for the quality of a seminary’s coursework. This is important for all degrees, including those earned through online programs. Calvin Theological Seminary is accredited through the Association of Theological Schools.
2. Consider Your Career Goals
Consider the specific goals you have for your ministry and vocation. Calvin Seminary offers robust degree programs for all stages of ministry development. If you would like to focus on just a few topics in theology, church life, or the Bible, consider trying self-guided courses, auditing classes, or pursuing a certificate.
3. Look at Denominational Affiliations
Online theological programs are often offered by seminaries affiliated with certain denominations. Consider if there is a specific Christian tradition you would like to study within, or if you’re open to a variety of Christian traditions. Calvin is a Reformed seminary and a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, welcoming all students to learn from a Reformed perspective while joyfully engaging with other Christian traditions. We’re proud to offer the experience of Reformed seminary online for students around the globe.
4. Prioritize Community
High-quality earn their degrees online, in-person, or through a hybrid model. Distance and residential courses run on the same academic calendar, allowing you to make a switch between different forms of course delivery (at the semester mark) within your program’s available formats.
6. Look for Opportunities to Meet on Campus
Some distance learning degrees are offered through hybrid programs, giving students a chance to connect on campus twice a year. This model allows online students to connect with peers in their program, meet with staff and faculty, learn and worship together, and enjoy the beautiful resources of Calvin’s campus. Hybrid learning is available for the following programs:
- Master of Divinity (MDiv)
- Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
- Master of Arts in Bible and Theology
- Master of Arts in Christian Leadership
- Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
- Certificate in Christian Leadership
7. Explore Affordable Online Seminary Options
When considering graduate programs, research the possibility of receiving financial aid as a distance learner. While scholarships are more rare for online graduate degrees, Calvin Seminary is proud to offer financial support to many of our distance students.
Succeeding in Your Online Seminary Program
Once you have chosen your online seminary program, it is important to take steps to help ensure your success.
8. Make Your Degree a Priority
One main benefit of online degrees is their convenience, but their flexibility can also be their downfall if they are not prioritized. Make sure your degree doesn’t take a backseat by choosing a program with clear goals, timelines, and accountability. Then, plan ahead and schedule your semester, using your course syllabi to note key deadlines and how you will make progress toward those dates.
9. Consider Your Learning Style
Stay engaged via online courses through strategies that fit your learning style. For example, designate a quiet space to study if you need to eliminate distractions, or consider making a bustling coffee shop your workspace if you enjoy the atmosphere of being surrounded by others in community.
10. Ask for Community Support
Throughout your online theological seminary program, you will benefit from community support, whether it’s prayer from your church, someone to pick up your children when you have class, or an online classmate to ask questions and work alongside of. Start thinking through existing connections you can rely on for help, and about how you will be proactive in forming relationships during your program.
Find Success in Calvin’s Online Seminary Programs
Calvin Seminary is ready to welcome you to an online seminary degree program that fits your needs and goals. Request more information today:
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