Dozens of high school students, looking to make the college experience a religious one as well, turned out for a special college fair at Augusta Christian Schools on Thursday.
More than 25 recruiters from private, religious schools passed out pamphlets and spoke with students about the benefits of a gospel-tinged education.
"For students of faith, going to a Christian-oriented school can have a lot of benefits," said Shelley Cook, an admissions counselor with Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn. "Not only can they get a good education, but they can deepen their relationship with God and avoid many of the temptations they would face at a state-run university."
Only 15 years old, Curtis Baptist student Ryan Jones decided to start exploring his college choices early.
"I really don't know what I want to do yet, but I didn't want to wait to find out what my options are," Jones said. "I'm pretty sure I want to go to a Christian university, and I wanted to go ahead and find out what's out there."
Among the colleges with booths set up in the Augusta Christian gym were Oral Roberts University, Anderson College, Palm Beach Atlantic University and many others primarily in the Southeast.
Parents attended to check out possible colleges as well as examine the higher cost of sending their children to a private school.
Missy Helwig, whose daughter Callie is a senior at Augusta Christian, said the added expense would be worth it if attending a religious school is the route her daughter chooses.
"Callie could pretty much go to school for free if she were to go to a Georgia state school," Helwig said. "It would probably cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 a year to send her to a Christian college, and that's just tuition, not the cost of living. But if she feels called to go to a Christian college, then we want to make that possible for her."
The fair also included a financial aid workshop, which examined ways to make tuition more affordable.
"Many of these universities offer scholarships and financial aid assistance to good students," said Augusta Christian guidance counselor Cheryl Dryzga. "Such programs can make going to one of these schools really affordable."
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