Pensacola Christian College
Pensacola Christian College - Comments and Student Experiences|
My main problem with the college is that everything is sacrificed to religion. For example, classes are more concerned with forcing narrow world view of any given subject as opposed to actually giving instruction in that subject. A great example is Advanced Grammar and Composition. We spent vary little time actually learning any grammar in that class, and a great deal with deal learning about their religiously influenced, prescriptive view of the English language. That's fine and dandy, i knew what was signing up for after all, but the goal of that class should be instruction in the English language first and foremost, not instruction in the school's personal philosophy at the expense of everything else.
In fact, I felt like most classes where predominately Christian philosophy classes, with some subject-oriented busywork thrown in to make it seem like you where learning something. Some departments where better than others. Political science and history were my two favorite subjects, and I felt like I actually learned a lot in those fields, though I had to sift through oodles of conservative bias. Debate class also felt particularly open, and I felt like we had the freedom to pursue topics that were usually off limits (such as more liberal views of government, which for an unknown reason where viewed as inherently un-biblical). As a whole though I felt like I personally had to do digging outside of class to get the whole picture of any given issue. Its common in conservative circles to accuse university's of liberal bias, but the curriculum is is probably the most blatantly biased I've seen.
Because of this, I do not believe that my degree really adequately prepared me for much. There were plenty of classes where I didn't learn much, and still got a good grade. That's never a good sign.
Outside of academics, the student body was not the best in the world. I know they advertise themselves as friendly, but I met a lot of rude and arrogant people during my time at PCC. More than enough for me to just write them off as isolated incidents. Even if you meet the nice ones, they all overwhelmingly closeminded, and are all practical carbon clones of each other. Alternative views, even alternative Christian views are frowned upon to the point that almost everyone you meet will be blatantly conservative politically and religiously. Again, I realize that's the demographic they're aiming for, but too me it undermines the point of college, which is meeting people with different views than you and learning how to live with them.
The college's personal intolerance of alternative views of Christianity itself was a point of great distress for me. I was never a Baptist, and was a Calvinist for my first two years at the college. They say that they respect their Calvinist and charismatic "brethren" but that they do not allow for them to discuss their views. Not only is that plain intolerance, they also did not show us respect. The student body was vindicative against Christians of other denominations, and I quickly learned how to fake being a baptist so as too not face alienation (only my closest friends, many of which where Calvinists themselves, ever actually knew my belief system). In church, our view system was often senselessly attacked and we were not allowed even the option of discussing our viewpoint openly without fear of punishment. For this reason, the college also forbade extracurricular prayer and bible study groups, out of fear that they would spread these Christian "heresies" (as I heard Calvinism mentioned as such numerous times). One guest pastor even went so far as to say that their were two great evils facing Christianity "Secular Humanism from without, and Calvinism from within". To say that this made life at the college stressful for me was an understatement. Starting towards the end of my junior year, the campus church has seemed to greatly mellow in their attacks against alternative denominations, but in my eyes the damage was already done. If you're not a strict baptist, I would strongly dissuade you from attending PCC.
On a more positive note, the campus was nice, and kept quite clean year round. It did feel quite safe and I never felt greatly physically threatened by anything or anyone on campus. There was some violence in my dorm twice during my junior and senior years, but the offenders were promptly dismissed, and during the actual altercation (I was nearby when one of the incidents occurred) I thought that the RAs and Residence Manager did an excellent job of handling it. The strict rules did create a safe environment where one did not have to deal with a large amount of theft, violence, or drug use.
There are some good people here, you just have to find them. I did make some great friends, but I would hesitate to say that I wouldn't have found the same at some other college.
The surrounding city is quite trashy and crime-ridden. if you're looking for a college in a nice community, I would keep looking. The beaches were nice though.
I have one more point to discuss before I make a final statement. The college has been supremely unhelpful in my quest to get employed, and my degree has been next to useless in my job search. I tried to contact alumni services during the summer after I graduated and i did not receive a reply (I finally received one a week after the next semester had started). I managed to get in touch with my former academic chair by other means, and she put me in touch with former professors for reference purposes. References are not allowed to be given by phone, which is supremely unhelpful, and many faculty never replied to my emails. I have no idea whether they did not receive them or whether they ignored them. Career Services has also been quite unhelpful, spamming me with endless "job opportunities" working for the college or directing me to jobs that clearly are beyond my qualifications (require a master's degree, etc.). To say the college has been helpful to this alumni is an understatement and is just one more thing that made me feel like a number rather than a person in my experience at PCC.
The final statement I wanted to make was one that had to wait until the end of the review so Christians reading this review would not discredit what I would have to say. My experience personally at PCC was extremely stressful. I have already mentioned my experience as a Calvinist at PCC for my freshman and sophomore years. The amount of intolerance for my beliefs caused a great deal of stress, which combined with my grades and other circumstances, ultimately led to me falling into deep depression by the end of sophomore year. My inability to discuss my views, and the feeling of ideological "isolation" took a severe toll on me. It did lead me to question my denominational beliefs, but the fact that I wasn't a Baptist also meant that I never felt beholden to theirs either. I began to question everything. Everything said in class came under my personal scrutiny. I researched every alternative viewpoint. That was when I realized that classes where more about indoctrination than learning. I ultimately had a crisis of faith my Junior year. The lack of support for a fellow Christian just because of doctrinal differences, my inability to discuss my views with anyone, my inability to discuss those views with spiritual leaders without fear of reprisal or so called correctional "counseling" made me miserable. My weight has also been a condition I have struggled with for sometime and the absolute unloving, unchristian reactions towards me made me spiteful and vengeful. The fact that Iw as told that depression was a "sin" and totally my choice, did not help, and only exacerbated the problem. I remember crying to "God" many times, asking for him to help me find the truth and too find respite. The end of my junior year I was borderline suicidal. The crisis culminated with me giving up on the Christian faith. My point in writing this is not to bash religion or to convince others to deconvert, but merely to show people the anguish I went through at PCC.I must strongly dissuade anyone from attending this college. It's cheap, but you get what you pay for. And the worthless degree wasn't worth the emotional distress I was put through. The college misses the point of a liberal arts college which is the promotion of creative, independent thought, and an open marketplace of ideals. I understand having a sectarian school, but when you don't even allow opposing viewpoints to be discussed you are missing the point. I am now working a minimum wage job, hoping that the four years I spent at PCC will someday pay off. They haven't yet, and I honestly doubt that they will.
Alumni services is terrible. They ignored me for months with no reply when I was seeking former professors for references. When i finally got a reply they merely directed me to career services. Since then I have been spammed with emails for worthless jobs working for the college, or for positions that are obviously above my qualifications (req. a master's degree when I had just graduated with a bachelor's).
Getting employed with a degree from here was an absolute disaster. I eventually gave up and worked a minimum wage job. Granted, I didn't major in the most directly employable field (Prelaw), but the lack of school negotiated internships, and the lack of concern for unemployed alumni was disappointing. Hopefully when i finally get around to graduate school my job prospects will improve, but you can be sure PCC will not be getting any credit for it from me.I guess the old stereotype about Christian schools holds true. They're great for teaching Christianity, but not much else.