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How do I Choose the Best Southern Baptist Seminary?

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  • Written By: Kristin Wood
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2016
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When choosing the best Southern Baptist seminary, prospective students will typically consider a school's theology, specialties and reputation. While one Southern Baptist seminary may have highly-esteemed professors and competitive admission standards, another school could draw students in with lower tuition or special coursework to prepare them for futures as missionaries or youth leaders. Prospective students might want to create a list of their most important criteria before researching seminaries.

Those interested in attending a Southern Baptist seminary will typically check each school to see if it is accredited. An unaccredited school, however, still might be the right choice for some students. The Southern Baptist Convention gives its churches high levels of independence in decision-making. Some churches will require a degree from an accredited institution, but others might not. Those seeking a Southern Baptist seminary education for purposes outside traditional pastoral positions might also want to consider unaccredited Southern Baptist seminaries.

Minor theological issues may differ from one seminary to the next. The Southern Baptist Convention does not take an official stance on several issues, including dancing, participation in communion and requirements for church membership. Potential students may find themselves most comfortable at a seminary that holds the same doctrine as their own belief system. Some Southern Baptist seminaries might teach only from the King James Version of the bible; this could be perfect for one student, but a stumbling block to another.

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Not all seminary students will use their education in the same way. Some might want to become preachers, while others will want to become missionaries, youth pastors, teachers or evangelists. Students typically choose a seminary that caters to their desired future plans. Some seminaries will teach with the assumption that each student desires to pastor a church one day, while others might offer special classes and course tracks specifically for those with paths leading outside of the traditional church.

Some students choose to research a Southern Baptist seminary's professors before coming to a final decision. Professors who are popular speakers or who have written well-respected books will typically attract students who want to learn from the best.

The reputation of a Southern Baptist seminary might be considered during the comparison process. Some schools boast of famous alumni or high admission standards. Reputable seminaries might ensure a future job for the student or a more in-depth education.

Other concerns when choosing the best Southern Baptist seminary could be cost, location and the size of the student body. Seminaries can range greatly in prices and classroom size. The best Southern Baptist seminary for some students might boil down to practical aspects, such as whether they can afford it or how close it is to their families and jobs.

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