Many simply care what kind of 18 year old graduates. Hillcrest looks at how 28 year-old alumni are doing.
Hillcrest holds a long and storied tradition. Alumni love Hillcrest. This is in part because students fortify a Biblically-based view of the world that stands true outside the doors of Hillcrest. Hillcrest instructs students to love God’s Word, have passion for the world God created, and be active in His order.
In this, Hillcrest students do very well in their academics. This is in part because academic exercise is an expression of worship. As students build an understanding of God’s love for them they are propelled to understand God deeper in their academic pursuits. Students see that as they understand the order of the world they gather glimpses to the mind and character of their loving Father in heaven.
With students building a comprehensive Biblically-based view of the world at Hillcrest they see that right living involves Biblically-based thinking. It is our prayer that our 18 year-old graduates will not simply attend college, but that they’ll impact their university with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Students who propel from Hillcrest don’t simply do so with a strong academic base, but with a concept of seeking the Lord in their college experience.
Hillcrest holds a strong practice of staying in contact with graduates in genuine concern for the spiritual, academic, and social life. Students and staff often write letters of encouragement to recent graduates, and Hillcrest grads visit teachers and staff regularly.
These visits are centered around a perspective that Hillcrest’s greatest test of accomplishment isn’t how many students attend college or university, but how many are serving the Lord when they encounter their 28th birthday.
Hillcrest has a perspective that the college and early adulthood years are integral to faith expression later in life. The training and equipping at Hillcrest is done to not only exercise good practices, like attending church and being active in faith formation, but to build apologetic muscles. Hillcrest students are challenged to defend their faith and understand why faith formation is imperative after their time at Hillcrest. It is very common for Hillcrest students to have staff contact them on their faith formation in college.
Why Hillcrest Students are Better Prepared for Life, and Enter College Confidently
Recent research shows students are growing-up slower than past generations. Dr. Jean Twenge believes this is due to incessant use of social media and personal devices.
Hillcrest holds a community of over 14 different cultures. It is easy for these cultures to retreat to personal devices for affirmation and positive feedback rather receiving character shaping connection in a learning community. It is one of our goals to produce healthy students who are emotionally, mentally, and physically strong. In building a strong and supportive student body we find it essential to allow students to connect and develop without a constant pull to use technology.
Hillcrest students develop a strong sense of self and community inside Hillcrest’s technology parameters. Hillcrest has what Dr. Sherry Turkle from MIT calls sacred spaces, places where technology is not allowed. Hillcrest has a device-free policy during the school day. This allows students to engage with classroom concepts and friends during the school day without being pulled away to conversations or ideas that are outside the focused learning environment.
The resident halls do not provide wifi connectivity. The Student Union offers monitored wifi connection for students in a safe and public place. In the evening time students check-in their personal devices before lights out. This enables students to receive a restful sleep and provides time for students to engage in Bible Study and Bible reading. We believe it is imperative for students to learn to control the influence social media and personal devices have. Hillcrest’s parameters are designed to build strong and healthy living habits.
In this community Hillcrest students build muscles to manage life. They share rooms with students from other cultures, learning how to communicate in the face of conflict.
These cultures spill over in the classroom. A simple example is that Hillcrest students come from countries that support communism, socialism, capitalism, and tribal ideologies. The Hillcrest classroom holds varied perspectives. Students learn to use logic, and to communicate winsomely in love inside the classroom setting.
The living and learning environments are governed by the Bible. Students are taught that every person is made in the image of God and holds special rights. They are also taught that ideas have consequences that impact image bearers. Ideas are handled with logic, while students are treated with love and support befitting their image that rests in the character of God and not the content of an idea or argument.
Inside this learning environment students build muscles that forge confidence and equip them for life. Students are prepared to handle conflict, because they built understanding and pathways to deal with frustration inside the living environment. Students’ sense of self is reinforced in the image of God, where they study and are taught that their value was set in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Inside this framework, Hillcrest students report that their first years of college are attacked with confidence, facing difficulties but having the ability to handle the obstacles.