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Cedarville and Liberty University - any boardies with students at these institutions?

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I have recently started helping out with college admissions (as part of an online course requirement) at a private high school affiliated with a Baptist Church.  These two schools are popular among students and, while I have heard of both of them, I would love to hear any specifics about these schools that anyone would like to share. Specially, what can you tell me about financial aid/cost of attendance, career placement offices and outcomes, campus life, and accreditation? How do costs typically compare against going to an in-state public university? Are they generous with merit scholarships? What about need-based aid?  I was also confused about what I read about the accrediting organization for Cedarville?  

I’m just trying to quickly familiarize myself with these two schools from those in the know (as opposed to what I might find online).  Please tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

TIA!

 

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I thought this was possibly going to be a thread about that article and some others like it recently. I know nothing about Cedarville. And I'm obviously not Liberty's demographic so in a way maybe my opinion doesn't matter. But there are many good Christian colleges and universities. This one is rotten. I can't imagine encouraging a student to attend there right now, even if their doctrine ostensibly lines up with the student's. There's more to it than that.

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I know several people with students at Cedarville.  There merit aid is excellent (they were a close second for my ds in terms of aid.)  You can find it out on the website easily.  My bff's dd just graduated and had a job in graphic design by the end of the summer.  Her ds had an internship this summer that was renewed for next summer and will lead to a job (this is with a wonderful company for computer programming--something to do with cybersecurity.)  I can't answer all  the other questions, though, sorry.  It's more conservative than we are, but we'd consider it if it was what worked out financially for our dc.

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I believe @Omma's son is a sophomore at Cedarville this year so she won't be able to help with career outcomes (although I think her son is super involved in the town/community as a first responder) but she can talk about other aspects.

I, too, immediately thought of the news lately when you mentioned Liberty. I remember seeing references to good merit packages but my kids have shown no interest in attending a religious college at this point so it was never on the radar.

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I have also read some troubling news stories about Liberty. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/magazine/how-liberty-university-built-a-billion-dollar-empire-online.html

However, I do not think that all this necessarily impacts the student experience, because I hear really good things about this school, and I also have an impression that graduates are doing well.  

OP --  I think if you ask around, current parents may have older children who are current students or recent graduates, so that might be helpful, too.

I'm not sure if I read it in the article I linked or elsewhere, but I have also seen somewhere allegations that they cause students to "waste" their GI Bill money taking classes that won't transfer to another school, but that are required early classes at Liberty.  I have heard this only with the online.  I am vague on it but I would check on it for online.  

Also -- there is part of me that wonders how much there is an axe to grind because Jerry Falwell (the son) was the first major evangelical leader to endorse President Trump.  I just wonder if there is some bias there, or -- more, not that it's not true, but if that's why there's more investigation into it.  I don't totally think that, but I do have thoughts of it.  

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I would be wary of Liberty University because of the bad press. Even years ago, it didn't have a good reputation that way. I worked in university research and then the federal government, and Liberty and BJU were strongly looked down upon. I was frequently on hiring committees, and those schools were big red flags even if the individual had graduate degrees from good schools. Their resumes never made the first cut. When a religious school receives bad press that way, it isn't good for the alumni.

I've shared that before on this board and folks have said that it's unfair and discriminatory, but it happens. It won't be recorded that way, but they will find some other reason to justify it and go on. It's like age discrimination in hiring. They aren't allowed to do that, but it happens all the time (don't I know).

Cedarville is regionally accredited (what you want) and is largely non-political. Of the two, I would favor them if I had the funds.

Edited by G5052
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14 hours ago, Lecka said:

I have also read some troubling news stories about Liberty. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/magazine/how-liberty-university-built-a-billion-dollar-empire-online.html

However, I do not think that all this necessarily impacts the student experience, because I hear really good things about this school, and I also have an impression that graduates are doing well.  

OP --  I think if you ask around, current parents may have older children who are current students or recent graduates, so that might be helpful, too.

I'm not sure if I read it in the article I linked or elsewhere, but I have also seen somewhere allegations that they cause students to "waste" their GI Bill money taking classes that won't transfer to another school, but that are required early classes at Liberty.  I have heard this only with the online.  I am vague on it but I would check on it for online.  

Also -- there is part of me that wonders how much there is an axe to grind because Jerry Falwell (the son) was the first major evangelical leader to endorse President Trump.  I just wonder if there is some bias there, or -- more, not that it's not true, but if that's why there's more investigation into it.  I don't totally think that, but I do have thoughts of it.  

It’s not surprising that people who hold themselves up as some sort of moral authority or Christian leader for the nation are going to be closely scrutinized to see if they actually practice what they preach. Would you want it to be any different? After all, these people have an amazing amount of power and influence.

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16 hours ago, Lecka said:

Also -- there is part of me that wonders how much there is an axe to grind because Jerry Falwell (the son) was the first major evangelical leader to endorse President Trump.  I just wonder if there is some bias there, or -- more, not that it's not true, but if that's why there's more investigation into it.  I don't totally think that, but I do have thoughts of it.  

If you read the article Chiguirre linked upthread, it's actually people within the organization who are speaking out against Falwell and calling for an investigation. These are nearly all very conservative Christians who revered Falwell Sr and are horrified at what Jr has done to the school. Even the students are demanding an investigation now.

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Not to make light of what is in the linked article about Falwell, but I have to say there are a few different Christian colleges/universities that come to mind that have an issue. As far as I can tell, both Liberty University and Cedarville University are regionally accredited, which is better than a national accreditation. Do some employers not consider grads of Christian colleges/universities? I would say very likely that's the case, although some employers may prefer grads of Christian colleges.

As far as dual enrollment, my DD took the online DE Probability and Statistics via Liberty University Online Academy and it was an extremely well done course. Compared to the online courses I've paid for during DD's high school years and the "free" online courses we have used (public school online), the LUOA DE course was over the top amazing quality. 

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4 hours ago, BookwormTo2 said:

Not to make light of what is in the linked article about Falwell, but I have to say there are a few different Christian colleges/universities that come to mind that have an issue. As far as I can tell, both Liberty University and Cedarville University are regionally accredited, which is better than a national accreditation. Do some employers not consider grads of Christian colleges/universities? I would say very likely that's the case, although some employers may prefer grads of Christian colleges.

 

Sometimes the hiring committees I sat on went through hundreds of resumes, so I saw how various schools were viewed. One of the first things people were eliminated for was not having the right degree(s) and not going to schools that were viewed positively. Schools like Wheaton, Brigham Young, and Notre Dame were fine, but Liberty and BJUP were not. That was awhile back and in a limited situation, but I've heard similar stories that are more recent including some who leave off the name of the undergraduate school on their resume and LinkedIn because of issues that way.

Mine are still active in the church they grew up in and live at home and commute to an excellent four year after having gone to the local community college. That combination has worked very well for our family, not just because of finances. They have college and work friends from a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints and have adapted well to state schools. I had people from the local homeschool community who were so shocked that mine went to state schools, but no regrets.

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On 9/19/2019 at 8:09 AM, G5052 said:

I would be wary of Liberty University because of the bad press. Even years ago, it didn't have a good reputation that way. I worked in university research and then the federal government, and Liberty and BJU were strongly looked down upon. I was frequently on hiring committees, and those schools were big red flags even if the individual had graduate degrees from good schools. Their resumes never made the first cut. When a religious school receives bad press that way, it isn't good for the alumni.

I've shared that before on this board and folks have said that it's unfair and discriminatory, but it happens. It won't be recorded that way, but they will find some other reason to justify it and go on. It's like age discrimination in hiring. They aren't allowed to do that, but it happens all the time (don't I know).

Cedarville is regionally accredited (what you want) and is largely non-political. Of the two, I would favor them if I had the funds.

I don't mean to encourage anyone toward Liberty because I don't have a favorable view of it. But you're saying anyone who ever worked for the federal government as well, which, since I live in DC, is basically everyone who lives here. If this were a corporate hiring thing here, it just wouldn't be feasible. Every hiring company of every sort around here expects to see people with federal work on their resume. I guess my point is just... know your goals. Christian colleges (especially Liberty and BJU, which are the most prominent politically) are going to be a big minus in some places and industries, a plus in others. That's just how it is. Same thing with other schools, degrees, and career paths. Every path shuts some doors and opens others. Be sure you're shutting doors you're okay with shutting and opening the ones to paths you hope to pursue.

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Wow, that is very illuminating about how different universities are viewed. I always suspected that was the case that certain institutions were favored. Thank you for sharing your experience.

My DD will be attending a state public university next year. I think the community college route to a 4-year state school is a great option. Kudos to you for having kids who are still active in the church; you've done a great job!

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My best friend in college would up graduating from Liberty; she had no problems finding a job in journalism in DC, but she was only interested in working for very conservative organizations.  So she was the right niche. I know two people last year who graduated from LU with degrees in nursing and computer science; they feel they have a great education and both have good jobs.  I know several public school teachers who did LU’s online teaching degree and have NYS certification and several jobs offers.  I am doing my certification and graduate degree through Liberty and even though some of the Christianity feels forced(“include a relevant Bible verse in your discussion question...” even when the discussion question has no biblical relevance, like transition planning for high school students with IEPs) it’s affordable and has an excellent placement record in my area. It was actually suggested to me by my kids’ principal as a good place to get my teaching certification.

I think you really have to be the right fit for it, though.

 

 

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When we lived in Ohio we knew a ton of people with kids in the school or who had recently graduated from the Cedarville, all positive reviews.  I had not heard of the school before that.  We lived in Ohio about 14 years ago, though, so it's been a while.

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8 hours ago, Medicmom2.0 said:

My best friend in college would up graduating from Liberty; she had no problems finding a job in journalism in DC, but she was only interested in working for very conservative organizations.  So she was the right niche. I know two people last year who graduated from LU with degrees in nursing and computer science; they feel they have a great education and both have good jobs.  I know several public school teachers who did LU’s online teaching degree and have NYS certification and several jobs offers.  I am doing my certification and graduate degree through Liberty and even though some of the Christianity feels forced(“include a relevant Bible verse in your discussion question...” even when the discussion question has no biblical relevance, like transition planning for high school students with IEPs) it’s affordable and has an excellent placement record in my area. It was actually suggested to me by my kids’ principal as a good place to get my teaching certification.

I think you really have to be the right fit for it, though.

 

 


LU is very popular among ppl who want to work in DC for Republicans and Republican-leaning orgs. They have tremendous hiring rates in govt. as a result. That can be a double edged sword when the pendulum swings the other way. Nursing and teaching are fairly objective in that there are separate exams for licensure to establish competence. I’d be less concerned with degrees like that being limiting.

Edited by Sneezyone
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On 9/20/2019 at 6:56 PM, G5052 said:

 

Sometimes the hiring committees I sat on went through hundreds of resumes, so I saw how various schools were viewed. One of the first things people were eliminated for was not having the right degree(s) and not going to schools that were viewed positively. Schools like Wheaton, Brigham Young, and Notre Dame were fine, but Liberty and BJUP were not. That was awhile back and in a limited situation, but I've heard similar stories that are more recent including some who leave off the name of the undergraduate school on their resume and LinkedIn because of issues that way.

Mine are still active in the church they grew up in and live at home and commute to an excellent four year after having gone to the local community college. That combination has worked very well for our family, not just because of finances. They have college and work friends from a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints and have adapted well to state schools. I had people from the local homeschool community who were so shocked that mine went to state schools, but no regrets.

Just curious - was this primarily for positions in academia?

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I don't have a child at Cedarville, but since I am local I can give a tiny bit of input on setting.

Cedarville is located in a mostly rural part of southwest Ohio. There are some truly beautiful places to hike up there. I believe the closest town would be Yellow Springs which is a small, quirky, bohemian little village. The next closest from there is probably either Xenia or Springfield, which probably have Walmarts and Targets and such.  In general, because of the setting, a student is not going to get off campus much without a car.  The nearest "big" city is Dayton--probably less than 30 minutes away. Dayton has everything most people would want IMO.

I have a couple friends with students there and they like it a lot.

My one friend's son was in graphic design and he was required to have an internship one summer but the school provided no assistance in setting that up, so it was very stressful for him. I cannot say if the same is true for all majors but it's something to ask about if you come visit.

ETA: If food allergies/Celiac are an issue, I was just looking at that and apparently they only have one dining hall and don't do the best at accommodating Celiac.

 

Edited by cintinative
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I am reading from my Kindle — there is an article from the New York Times on October 8 called “Falwell settles court case over ‘pool boy’ business deal.”

Seems totally bizarre to me.  

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On 9/27/2019 at 3:58 PM, cintinative said:

I don't have a child at Cedarville, but since I am local I can give a tiny bit of input on setting.

Cedarville is located in a mostly rural part of southwest Ohio. There are some truly beautiful places to hike up there. I believe the closest town would be Yellow Springs which is a small, quirky, bohemian little village. The next closest from there is probably either Xenia or Springfield, which probably have Walmarts and Targets and such.  In general, because of the setting, a student is not going to get off campus much without a car.  The nearest "big" city is Dayton--probably less than 30 minutes away. Dayton has everything most people would want IMO.

I have a couple friends with students there and they like it a lot.

My one friend's son was in graphic design and he was required to have an internship one summer but the school provided no assistance in setting that up, so it was very stressful for him. I cannot say if the same is true for all majors but it's something to ask about if you come visit.

ETA: If food allergies/Celiac are an issue, I was just looking at that and apparently they only have one dining hall and don't do the best at accommodating Celiac.

I am a graduate (as is my husband), and this is a good summary. I will note that I didn't have a car until my third year, and I didn't have trouble getting rides to go places for fun or a Walmart run. I have heard only good things from parents of current students, and our return visits to campus from time to time have been nothing but positive. They seem to have maintained an excellent reputation. They are always innovating and improving, so much so that when I attended, each year's crop of freshmen seemed to get more and more impressive. The joke when I was there is "Don't leave, or you might not be smart enough to get back in." At the same time, we do know some pretty average students who attend and do well. People we graduated with went into a variety of fields and never had trouble excelling or getting into graduate school if they were good students while there. Nursing and engineering have especially good reputations.

I had a summer internship between my junior and senior year, as did most others in my major. Nearly all of us got internships through connections our professor cultivated, and some internships were with very prestigious companies. 

My husband has had a chance to be on campus with students interested in healthcare careers, specifically pre-med and pre-PA students. That program seems to be flourishing and attracting top notch students. I believe they are going to be adding a full-fledged PA program.

Oh, I also know someone who did graduate classes online (teacher education, elementary), and they had a good experience as well. 

Aid is completely different from when I attended, so I can't speak to that. They do offer online DE, so if you can take advantage of that, it can help. When I attended, you could CLEP some classes (I tested out of 20 hours). At that time, a good AP score netted you the opportunity to substitute a higher level course, not actual course credit like for CLEP. You might check into current rules for that. 

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4 hours ago, kbutton said:

I am a graduate (as is my husband), and this is a good summary. I will note that I didn't have a car until my third year, and I didn't have trouble getting rides to go places for fun or a Walmart run. I have heard only good things from parents of current students, and our return visits to campus from time to time have been nothing but positive. They seem to have maintained an excellent reputation. They are always innovating and improving, so much so that when I attended, each year's crop of freshmen seemed to get more and more impressive. The joke when I was there is "Don't leave, or you might not be smart enough to get back in." At the same time, we do know some pretty average students who attend and do well. People we graduated with went into a variety of fields and never had trouble excelling or getting into graduate school if they were good students while there. Nursing and engineering have especially good reputations.

I had a summer internship between my junior and senior year, as did most others in my major. Nearly all of us got internships through connections our professor cultivated, and some internships were with very prestigious companies. 

My husband has had a chance to be on campus with students interested in healthcare careers, specifically pre-med and pre-PA students. That program seems to be flourishing and attracting top notch students. I believe they are going to be adding a full-fledged PA program.

Oh, I also know someone who did graduate classes online (teacher education, elementary), and they had a good experience as well. 

Aid is completely different from when I attended, so I can't speak to that. They do offer online DE, so if you can take advantage of that, it can help. When I attended, you could CLEP some classes (I tested out of 20 hours). At that time, a good AP score netted you the opportunity to substitute a higher level course, not actual course credit like for CLEP. You might check into current rules for that. 

I am also a Cedarville grad, and I echo all of this.  I was a biology/math double major, and while I never formally worked after graduation (I married my Air Force man in between my sophomore and junior year, and we PCS'd as soon as I graduated), my education there prepared me to teach homeschool science classes up through AP and have my kids do very well on the exams! I had a great experience there.

Now we have moved back to the area, and we often have Cedarville students (many different majors) over to our house. They have all been so fun to be around, and we really enjoy spending time with them!

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On 10/9/2019 at 2:52 PM, kbutton said:

I am a graduate (as is my husband), and this is a good summary. I will note that I didn't have a car until my third year, and I didn't have trouble getting rides to go places for fun or a Walmart run. I have heard only good things from parents of current students, and our return visits to campus from time to time have been nothing but positive. They seem to have maintained an excellent reputation. They are always innovating and improving, so much so that when I attended, each year's crop of freshmen seemed to get more and more impressive. The joke when I was there is "Don't leave, or you might not be smart enough to get back in." At the same time, we do know some pretty average students who attend and do well. People we graduated with went into a variety of fields and never had trouble excelling or getting into graduate school if they were good students while there. Nursing and engineering have especially good reputations.

I had a summer internship between my junior and senior year, as did most others in my major. Nearly all of us got internships through connections our professor cultivated, and some internships were with very prestigious companies. 

My husband has had a chance to be on campus with students interested in healthcare careers, specifically pre-med and pre-PA students. That program seems to be flourishing and attracting top notch students. I believe they are going to be adding a full-fledged PA program.

Oh, I also know someone who did graduate classes online (teacher education, elementary), and they had a good experience as well. 

Aid is completely different from when I attended, so I can't speak to that. They do offer online DE, so if you can take advantage of that, it can help. When I attended, you could CLEP some classes (I tested out of 20 hours). At that time, a good AP score netted you the opportunity to substitute a higher level course, not actual course credit like for CLEP. You might check into current rules for that. 

 

This is good to hear. The AHG national convention is at Cedarville next summer and I am looking forward to taking the opportunity for my rising 8th grader to visit the campus and take a look around. He is at least currently interested in attending a Christian college and eventually going to Africa as a missionary. (He's wanted to be a missionary of one sort or another since Kindergarten. Used to be he wanted to be a pediatric brain surgeon. Now he's moving away from medical careers and thinking carpentry or agriculture.)

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On 10/21/2019 at 12:43 PM, vonfirmath said:

 

This is good to hear. The AHG national convention is at Cedarville next summer and I am looking forward to taking the opportunity for my rising 8th grader to visit the campus and take a look around. He is at least currently interested in attending a Christian college and eventually going to Africa as a missionary. (He's wanted to be a missionary of one sort or another since Kindergarten. Used to be he wanted to be a pediatric brain surgeon. Now he's moving away from medical careers and thinking carpentry or agriculture.)

I had the same idea for my 9th grader when we are there this summer. Maybe there should be a WTM get-together at the convention?!

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