Tips for Success in Seminary

Team Admissions has put together some helpful hints for navigating the different aspects of seminary. Please click the desired topic below for more!

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You are a student

  • “In terms of academic strategy, use wisdom in how you schedule classes around part-time work, church involvement, and family time (especially if you’re married).”
  • “One of my Greek professors said, 'Let Greek have its effect.' He meant that it could be hard and humbling, but would ultimately be rewarding and that we shouldn’t be discouraged by its difficulty.”
  • “Persevere, let Seminary have its effect, that it may produce its desired result: Godly servant-leaders equipped to proclaim the Word and build the body of Christ.”
  • “Don’t perform for the sake of achievement and recognition. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You are here not only to grow in understanding but also in love for the Lord and for others. The Lord is more concerned with the motives of your heart than He is the grade on your paper.”
  • “Have fun! It’s not everyday that people get to study God’s Word under renowned faculty, alongside of like-minded individuals from various backgrounds and cultural contexts. Soak it up.”
  • “You are not your grades: Your grade is not a reflection of your spiritual life. However, focusing solely on your grades can negatively affect your spiritual life.”
  • “Resist the temptation to compare yourself to fellow students. The Lord is not going to hold you accountable for whether you get a higher grade or have a bigger ministry than a classmate. He is going to hold you accountable for using the gifts He’s given you to the best of your ability. There is no shame is being a hard-working C student; God is still glorified!”
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Life Balance  

You are more than a student

  • “Take assessment of your priorities and responsibilities. Talk about finances, ministry goals, degree choice with a mentor, Admissions, Advising, and Professors. The Lord may start you down one path but reveal over time that He is leading you in a different direction than what you anticipated when you began.”
  • “Set aside uninterrupted time of rest and renewal. The time, activity, and people present may vary for each person. However, the goal is to prioritize physical, emotional, and spiritual health during seminary. Whatever provides you with energy and refreshment, do it! This is a life-long practice that is necessary for a lifetime of effective and healthy ministry.”
  • “‘Balance’ doesn’t mean or look the same for every individual/family; and to some extent, most students are making sacrifices of some kind to their ‘balance’ in order to attend seminary.”
  • “Give yourself grace. It takes time to figure out how to balance the demands of school, work, family, friends and church. You probably won’t get it right the first time. Or the second. Or the twentieth. And that’s okay.”
  • “Sleep, sleep, sleep! Take care of yourself.”
  • “You will have to learn to say ‘No’ to good opportunities that arise.”
  • “Take advantage of the Advising Center’s Time Management Calculator."
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Family/Social Life  

You are a friend and family member

  • “Family first. Always.”
  • “Plan time with family. Watch a movie with a friend.”
  • “Be intentional about setting boundaries. There will ALWAYS be something you could be doing for class. Make time for your family, spouses, and friends. You dictate how you spend your time; do not allow your schedule to become a dictator over you.”
  • “Self-care is so important. Be sure and have a community that checks in with you regarding school and your personal relationship with God.”
  • “Do you have a hobby? Set aside some to time to keep it up.”
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You are a member of God's family

  • “Connect with faculty and other students about getting plugged into ministry.”
  • “Prayer is the key.”
  • “If you are relocating, find a church sooner than later! Talk or think about the values that are important to you with a church (denomination, preaching style, music, size, opportunities to serve, internship, etc.).”
  • “Seminary will train and equip you, but having people and places to serve will help provide outlets to use what you are learning. Seminary no longer becomes purely an academic experience but one that is for the building up others in the body of Christ.”
  • “Seminary in no way replaces the local church. Don’t forsake your ministry responsibilities and community for study.”
  • “There is a point where seminary becomes the supplement. If you’re starting off in school only, ministry will slowly begin to become your priority. Let your education then supplement that ministry experience.”
  • “’Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up’ (1 Cor 8:1). Stay grounded by serving in the local church and serving those around you. Your service is not just bestowing knowledge on other people, but applying your knowledge in love for the glory of Christ.”
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You are a working student

  • “Check out the Student Job Board for ministry and job positions available from friends of the seminary.”
  • “There’s an old saying: ‘Work doesn’t care about school, and school doesn’t care about work.’ While there is often much grace extended toward those in seminary, you still have to get your job done and assignments must be turned in.”
  • “Your work is also a ministry: ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.’ – Colossians 3:23-24”
  • “When searching for employment, be open to positions of which you may feel over-qualified. Some students have left pastoral positions to clean toilets in order to make ends meet.”
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You are a stewarding student

  • “It may not be comfortable, and you may not have a lot of surplus, but God will provide for your needs.”
  • “Fundraising and receiving monetary gifts is not sinful or unbiblical, be open to raising support and start early.”
  • “Seminary can be expensive, saving up in advance is a good practice.”
  • “Take advantage of the TMS payment system.”
  • “Don’t rely too heavily on loans, high amounts of debt can hinder flexibility in ministry.”