Guidelines for Pre-Seminary Students

Students enter theological colleges with a wide variety of backgrounds. Because many decide to seek admission late in their college and university studies or after spending some years in another career, it is impossible to describe a single pattern of pre-theological preparation.

However, all areas of study which develop the ability to think clearly and critically are recommended. The ability to communicate effectively in both speaking and writing should be developed as much as possible. Although some basic work on the content of the Bible and the Christian tradition is helpful, this area of study should not be pursued to the exclusion of other liberal arts courses.

Those who enter seminary after spending time in other careers have the advantage of being able to bring a range of life experience and skills to their studies. To ease the adjustment back to full time study, prospective students should look for opportunities to sharpen their study skills. Never doubt that as a student in seminary you will work hard! But you will be studying in a field you love, surrounded by others who understand and share your passion. Being able to read quickly and with comprehension, write clearly and coherently, and think analytically and critically will help make all seminary work less stressful and more fun. 

Some books which may be useful for pre-seminary reading are:

The Adult Student's Guide to Survival & Success, by Al Siebert and Mary Karr. Practical Psychology Press, 6th Rev. Ed., 2008.

College Rules! How to Study, Survive, and Succeed in College, by Sherrie Nist-Olejnik  and Jodi Patrick Holschuh. Ten Speed Press, 2007.

Good Reasoning Matters! A Constructive Approach to Critical Thinking, 4th Ed. by Leo Groarke and Christopher Tindale. Oxford Canada, 2008.

Kids, Have You Seen My Backpack? and Other Inspirational Stories of Non-Traditional Students: An Adult Learner Anthology, by Donna Talarico. iUniverse, 2005.

Seven Things They Don't Teach You in Seminary, by John Killinger. Crossroad Publishing Company, 2006

To Understand God Truly: What's Theological About A Theological School? by David H. Kelsey. Westminster John Knox Press, 1992.

Undergraduate Writing Guide: Writing Tools for the Adult Student, APA 5th Ed. by Dean Kroeker. Outskirts Press, 2007.