There are two reasons people go to Bethel. One is for the sheltered and provincial environment it provides. The other is for the much less-publicized christian intellectual teaching. The first is true: with an admistration and majority of the student body looking to reinforce a particular dogma, much of the environment is dull and thoughtless. However, the liberal arts professors are some of the best I've ever encountered. Many of the professors push students to new horizons of thinking despite dogmatic attempts by the administration to impose their perceptions of what christians should be. Go to this school, but move off campus quickly.
Bethel is defintely a great place for a college education. The Christian atmosphere allows students to grow in more than just intellectual terms and allows for a more comprehensive approach to teaching. The professors are, for the most part, top-notch and are genuinely interested in seeing their students succeed. The professors also create an environment condusive to learning in that they allow different viewpoints to be advanced, not just their own Christian perspective.
I live about 2 feet away from bethel,and I am going to tell you my observations and what the community thinks about it. Bethel lies to you right off the bat when they say it is in Saint Paul. It is in a suburb 20 minutes or so (by car) away from the cities. The suburb is pretty and affluent, but incredibly boring. It is a sheltered place and not a place that fosters the sort of experiences people should have in their college years. I always believed Bethel was essentially a community college with 600 or so students. Academically i wasn't far off, i was shocked to find out that this dumpy little campus had over 3,000 living on it. Bethel is not well respected. some girls are hot, they must be fit because the biggest driving hazards in my neighborhood are the hordes of Bethel joggers. A lot of the guys hit on the slutty girls in my high school and cradle rob (Mounds View, Bethel uses our sports facilities because it doesn't really have any). I assume they do this because all the girls are super religous and are total prudes (or so i'm told). The town has no bas or restaurants, just a target and some fast food. Now that i'm i senior and looking at schools i couldn't imagine going to this boring chapel of a college. If you like jesus, a boring town (It's safe and has very nice people), ugly girls and creepy guys then bethel is for you. Basically the guys are known for being dumb jocks, and the girls babysat me and all my friends when we were little because no one expected them to do anything wrong. If you're not religious don't come here, and if you are maybe you should consider another school so you can have your beliefs challenged a little and break out of your bubble. After all, your ideas don't mean anything if they can't withstand the Ideas of people outside of your faith.
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