We recently had a Preview at the Abbey weekend here in Colorado. Prospective students from across the nation had a chance to come sit in on classes, meet current students, and speak with professors of our program about just what is going on in the inaugural year of our program.
On the final morning of the weekend, one young man pulled me aside and had a very legitimate question for me. He said, “It has been great to be here and be a part of experiencing this place, but I wanted to hear from you: Why should I come here instead of going straight into college once I graduate from high school?”
It’s a question that we’ve been working to answer all year, and that we will continue to define in the future. What sets us apart – not only in terms of academics, but actual experience? Students considering coming here have to be willing to give up a year of “progress” that they could be working on in college – are we really better than that?
My answer is unequivocally yes, and though I may be biased, it is my job to implement that answer for every student that chooses to attend our program. I wanted to share the response I gave him in case someone considering us had a similar question:
1. Academics: Regardless of whether or not a student comes from a classical background, our curriculum is meant to be challenging. With a reading list that includes Plato, Martin Luther, Thomas Paine, and Milton Friedman, students from all educational backgrounds are sure to be intellectually and academically challenged.
2. Hands-on: During a year with us, students go on a rafting trip and then talk about teamwork, go on a camping trip and then discuss being a member of the body of Christ, and participate in a ropes course practicum and relate it back to epistemology. Colorado affords a wide variety of opportunities to connect physical activities with concepts covered in the classroom, and we make sure students take advantage of that opportunity!
3. Community Involvement: We don’t want students to have a solely intellectual understanding of the Gospel, nor do we want them to think that evangelism is an event. While students do evangelism as part of an apologetics class, community involvement is meant to encourage them to meet people in our city and build relationship regardless of whether or not the people they meet are Christians. As with evangelism at our summer camps, this involvement puts a face and name with opposing worldviews and provides compassion and humility in contrast to the black and white logic of the classroom.
4. Discipleship: This year students have traveled to faculty members' homes for different holidays, professors have joined us regularly for game or movie nights, and our Men’s and Women’s Directors live on the halls with students and lead weekly Bible studies. Students also take a class on personal development where they complete personality and spiritual gifts assessments, give presentations on vocations they are hoping to pursue, and teach classmates skills that can serve others in whatever community they end up in after our program.
These are the main qualities that I believe set us a part from a “normal” freshman year of college and from other gap-year programs, and the team here at the Abbey is committed to serving students and creating a culture in this program that is unlike any other in the nation. This program isn't for everyone. We place an emphasis on education that integrates the heart, soul, and mind and goes fay beyond simple academics. So if that mindset might be of interest to you or someone you know, then we would be honored for you to consider us. Click around on our website and check out our academics page for our full reading lists, and look over our blog or Facebook page to see more about who we are and how we obtain this vision.
Our goal with Worldview at the Abbey is to create an academically rigorous, hands-on program that challenges students to think biblically and lead the culture for Christ. If you have any questions or would like to speak with someone about our program, go to the Contact Us tab. We can’t wait to hear from you!