In this Q&A, Assistant Director of Recruitment Joshua Perkins answers common questions about Bethel and college in general. Joshua began working as a Bethel admissions counselor four years ago. He currently works with students from Texas, Colorado, Southern Minnesota, and Iowa, while supervising counselors working with all other traditional incoming freshmen.
What does student life at Bethel look like?
Students at Bethel come from all around the world. They have different majors and denominations—but there are three things they tend to have in common. One, there is a faith aspect in their life that is important in some way. Two, the majority of students here are really passionate about learning. And three, they like to be together. A compelling statistic about Bethel is that 60-70% of students stay on campus all four years. That’s about double what it is at most colleges. There are also statistics that show Bethel students remain friends long after graduation. Bethel is a big enough place that students can have really different experiences, but it’s a small enough place that they are going to have some things in common.
What type of financial resources are offered?
If you’re a senior, apply, get accepted, and fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA determines eligibility for need-based aid on the federal, state, and private levels. There are also a wide variety of gift aid opportunities. For Bethel, the largest scholarship is the Royal Merit Scholarship. Then there are performance scholarships for band, choir, orchestra, forensics, and art and scholarships from specific academic departments. Outside scholarships are also really important. My advice for those is to get as local as possible. Look for scholarships that apply to your major. We also have a partnership scholarship—so if your church gives a scholarship, we’ll match it up to $2,000. If you’re a younger student, get good grades. Your GPA and test scores will both factor into financial aid.
How many years does the average student spend at Bethel?
80% of students who start and finish at Bethel graduate in four years.
Can I study abroad and still graduate in four years?
Definitely. Between 60-75% of students study abroad in their four years at Bethel. There are Bethel-specific programs, partnership programs where we work with different organizations, and then there are other programs that students can do as well. For each one, your financial aid package goes with you for a semester, so it’s not as big of a financial burden as many people think. The other big thing is that J-term trips are really popular. They give people in some of our most populated and also difficult majors a chance to study abroad. Studying abroad satisfies a general education requirement so studying abroad can, in a way, actually help you graduate on-time.
Is there support for students seeking internships or post-graduation jobs?
The Office of Career Development & Calling serves the entire Bethel community. Beyond that, the academic departments themselves can be of assistance. The business department is an example: there is actually someone whose job is to help students find internships. Employers also come to campus quite a bit. There are a lot of employers out there looking to hire Bethel students. Most helpful are probably the alumni networks and faculty we have here.
What other academic support services are offered?
There’s the Academic Enrichment and Support Center (AESC) which also houses the writing lab. The Office of Disability Resources and Services can help if you need extended test-taking or note-taking. We probably have the services to help you, but self-advocacy is really important. If you take that first step, there’s a lot of help to be found.
What do you think is one of the most important questions students should ask when exploring colleges?
There are probably a thousand different things that matter in terms of choosing a college, but I think we sometimes lose sight of the importance of the people we are around in college. I think you have to be here, sleep in a dorm room, and hang out with people to see if this is a place for you. If you invest fully with the right group of people, it can be one of the best things you’ve ever done. There are some incredible colleges and none of them are perfect, but at the end of the day there is something special about this place. If it’s the perfect fit for you, there’s nowhere else like it in the world.
If you have more questions about Bethel or the college application process, reach out to your admissions counselor. Not sure who that would be? We assign counselors based on interest and location. Meet your admissions counselor today!