Bethel College is an evangelical Christian college affiliated with the Missionary Church and located in Mishawaka, Ind., just outside of urban South Bend. The coeducational, liberal arts college says its provides “liberating and relevant academic programs, while holding to its Christian responsibility to be a witness and participant in the contemporary world” and many of its programs focus on service to others. Academic programs include bachelor’s degrees, master’s degreees and associate degress to its students.
Founded in 1893 as a training institute, it wasn’t until 2006 that the college was reorganized as a university model and divided into seven schools of study. At the same time the campus began to grow, with a $6.9 million addition to its Middleton Hall of Science and the construction of student apartments, a new chapel/fine arts center, an athletic center, a stadium, soccer field, and college bookstore.
There is an auxiliary campus in nearby Elkhart, Ind., and a nursing program at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind. Enrollment is around 2,000 students.
Classes are small, with a student to faculty ratio of 14 to 1, and 68.9 percent of its classes have fewer than 20 students. Students may apply to the two-year Associate of Arts degrees and two-year Associate Degrees in Nursing, in addition to four-year bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. The college also offers a bachelor of science degree in nursing, known as a BSN.
There are four academic Divisions and Schools: Arts & Humanities, Professional and Graduate Studies, Division of Sciences, and the School of Nursing. Areas of study in the bachelor’s program includes accounting, arts administration, Biblical studies, business administration, business management, communication, Christian ministries, criminal justice, economics and finance, education, humanities, liberal studies, music performance, pre-law, theater arts, visual art, sociology, Spanish, and sport management. Bachelor of science degrees are offered in areas including biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental biology, physics, pre-medicine, and mathematics. Associate degrees are offered in 10 areas of study, and master’s degrees are offered in business administration, teacher, education, nursing, ministries and theological studies.
There are also accelerated learning programs for adult learners looking to return to school, in six bachelor’s degree areas — bible & ministry, human services, general studies, nursing and organizational management. Accelerated programs for adults seeking an associate degree are offered in bible & ministry, business supervision, human services, general studies and professional writing. To accommodate adults learners, Bethel also offers reduce tuition rates, evening and Saturday classes, academic advising, and programs that integrate the Christian faith.
The college also offers its students variety semester-long study abroad programs, including a Pacific Rim semester that takes students to New Zealand, Australia, and China; a semester in the Dominican Republic; study at St. Petersburg Christian University in Russia; and a semester in Beijing and Xian, China.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admissions at Bethel College Mishawaka are selective, with the average high school grade point average of its incoming freshmen students a 3.0. Of the students who apply, 77 percent are accepted. Either SAT or ACT scores are accepted from incoming students, and admission interviews are recommended. A majority of students — 73 percent — are Indiana residents. The average freshman retention rate is 78.5 percent.
You can schedule a personalized visit that can include a campus tour, a chapel service, sitting in on classes, meeting with professors, attending an admissions information session, and even staying overnight in a residence hall. Although personalized visits take place Monday through Friday, students are encouraged to choose Monday, Wednesday or Friday as their visiting day to attend chapel services. Personalized visits should be scheduled at least one week in advance.
Brunch takes place on Saturdays and provides prospective students with a student-guided tour and brunch in the Dining Commons. Twilight Tours gives prospective students and their families the chance to take look at the campus at 6 p.m., with a campus tour led by a student ambassador who will also take you to the Coffee House after the tour. Twilight Tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays and by appointment only.
Bethel also holds an Athlete Preview Day for students thinking about continuing their athletic careers at college level. Students can meet with the coaching staff and Bethel’s student-athletes, and will be invited to join Pilot fans for a game, match or meet. Pilot Preview Days give students the chance to visit in a group setting with other high school students and their families. Breakfast and lunch are included, and Pilot Preview Days take place four times a year.
Even though it’s called Junior Visit Day, students who are high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors can attend this once-yearly event, which includes a tour, chapel service, and lunch in the Dining Commons.
About 79 percent of full-time undergraduates receive need-based financial aid, and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $8,140 at the school. In addition to state and federal aid, students can apply for the college’s own scholarships and grants.
Among those scholarships and awards are freshman academic scholarships, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000; the top adademic award, the trustee scholarship, which ranges from $6,000 to full tuition; transfer student awards ranging from $3,000 to $6,000; National Merit Recognition awards of up to $6,000; and the Lily Endowment Recognition Award, which can include full tuition.
As a Christian school, financial aid also awards a Missionary Church Scholarship of $1,200, a Missionary Church Pastor Grant of up to one-third of tuition, a Christian Workers Grant of up to $2,000. A number of minority student scholarships, athletic scholarships, international student scholarships, and talent awards in art, music and theater are also available.
About one-quarter of students live out of the state of Indiana, so the campus has plenty of housing for its students. There are six men’s residence halls on campus, with 99 freshmen living in the three-story Oakwood-Slater Hall, with has 11 three-person and 33 two-person rooms, with common bathrooms on each floor. Oakwood-Slater also has a study lounge, TV lounge, recreation lounge with games, and laundry facilities.
Shupe Hall houses 136 female students, most in four- and five-person suites, each with two bedrooms and a bathroom, and two- and three-person rooms that share community bathrooms. Shupe also has a renovated lobby and TV lounge, study lounge, two kitchens, laundry facilities, wireless Internet access, and storage room.
Two large residence halls are located in complexes with women in one hall and men in the other. In the Sailor Residential Facility, Manges Hall houses 84 male students on three floors, including four-person suites that consist of two bedrooms and a bathroom. First floor rooms have private bathrooms. Tuckey Hall is a three-story female residence hall, housing 128 students in four-person suites like those in Manges Hall. The Sailor Residential Facility includes a large student lounge, workout facilities, classroom space, community kitchen, and the Acorn recreation area, featuring a sub sandwich shop.
Founders’ Village also hosts men’s and women’s residences, mostly for upperclassmen in four-person units. The men’s residences, Ramseyer and Brenneman, house 92 students. Apartment-style living at Founders includes heat and air conditioning, compact electric stoves with ovens, full-size refrigerators, double sinks in the bathrooms, living/dining room areas,. Each hall in Founders’ Village has its own lounge, laundry facilities, elevator, and swipe access for security.
A collection of houses on the perimeter of the campus provide overflow housing for upperclass students. They typically offer two or more bedrooms, kitchens, one or more bathrooms, living rooms, laundry facilities, wireless Internet, and parking. Also off the campus grounds, Logan Village is a complex of 12 townhouses housing 88 upperclass male students. Each townhouse has three levels with three bedrooms, kitchen, living room, study area, laundry room, two and a half bathrooms, a deck, wireless Internet access, and a gated parking lot.
Almost all dining on campus for residential students is provided at the Dining Commons, which includes a fresh fruit and salad bar, hot entrees, fresh pizza, a deli bar, homemade soups, vegetarian options, and ice cream and desserts. Students in a hurry can grab and go with snacks, sandwiches and other items from Acorn. And Sufficient Grounds is the school’s own coffeehouse, featuring Seattle’s Best coffee drinks, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, salads, deli sandwiches, pizza and soups. At The Cafe, located in the Miller/Moore Academic Center, students can also get sandwiches, salads, Starbucks coffee, cold drinks and snack items.
There are 18 student clubs and organizations take advantage of, including an accounting club, an American Sign Language club, an International Student Fellowship, a Psychology club, and Students in Free Enterprise. The music department also offers performance organizations for students, including vocal ensembles, a concert choir, a women’s chorale, Voices of Triumph, a concert band, a jazz band, a strings chamber orchestra, and the Genesians Drama Troupe.
Pilot Radio is a web-based radio station, and the Bethel Beacon is student newspaper, which is published every two weeks during the school year. Bethel Prime Time is a half-hour TV news magazine show about the campus, which is produced by students.
About 75 percent of classrooms have wireless Internet access, and most residence halls also offer wireless access.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.