If you haven’t read my first five posts in this series please see “#1, doctrine” ; “#2, faculty” ;#3, academic reputation ; #4, cost ; #5, pedagogy. Today I want to discuss scheduling options. Most modern seminarians live busy lives away from the classroom. Does your seminary of interest make you drop everything to be a student?
If so, that may be OK. If you can afford to be a professional student for three to four years that is wonderful. If your job is flexible enough for you to take classes several days a week that is great.
For most this is not possible. Where I have worked (Western Seminary) administration has gone above and beyond to find ways for students to keep their jobs or remain active in their ministry contexts while going to seminary. They created a schedule where students can complete a full MDIV (or MA) in four years by going on Mondays only. They created another schedule with the same aim that has students in class on Monday and Thursday evenings. There are online options. There are intensive classes (classes with condensed classroom time). We gave incoming students so many paths to complete their degree that we had to hire someone to have the position of “Flexible Schedule Advisor” so he could walk students through all the options available to them!
Many other seminaries see the need to diversify their scheduling options for busy people, so browse various schools.
That said, be aware, scheduling flexibility in-and-of-itself is not good. It does not substitute for find the other qualities in an institution like the ones I have mentioned in other posts. Only you know how much time you have available. Only you know what can be forsaken in your life to pursue seminary education. So keep this in mind, but don’t let it be your only guiding factor.