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7 Reasons Parents Should Be Glad Their Child Chose Bethel

President Jay Barnes and his wife, Barb, serving cinnamon rolls to students during a late-night finals week event.

The college search can be stressful. With so many factors at play and so many options out there, parents can be left wondering if they’ve made the right choice. Here are the top reasons parents can breathe a sigh of relief that their student landed at Bethel:

  1. We have a pair of esteemed celebrities on campus. President Jay Barnes and his “First Lady,” Barb, are perhaps the most beloved couple on campus. Between personally greeting freshmen on move-in day and serving late-night cinnamon rolls during finals week, Jay and Barb get to know their students—especially the ones who enroll in their renowned marriage preparation class, held at the Barnes’ home!
  2. We are bold adventurers. Almost 75% of Bethel students study abroad, reflecting our desire to both experience the world and change it. A semester in Spain and an interim in Ecuador brought me face to face with not only exploitation and poverty, but also incredible people and cultures who helped shape me into a confident, compassionate, and culturally competent global citizen.
  3. We never go hungry. When it comes to food, we really do get the royal treatment. The campus coffee shop—Royal Grounds—became a staple in my morning routine, and the Monson Dining Center’s spreads are enough to satisfy our biggest linebackers. Tell your son or daughter to try a spicy-orange shrimp stir fry from Wing in the Chinese line. After their third time through, he’ll likely remember their order until they graduate.
  4. We have the best professors in the world. Does your student need clarification on an assignment? What about a cup of coffee and discernment of his or her life’s calling? I wandered into many open offices during my four years at Bethel, and I walked out with advice about everything from cover letters and career plans to dating and ethics. As for the number of professors with whom I’ve stayed in contact as an alumna? I need two hands to count them.
  5. We are part of a genuine, intellectually robust community. Your child won’t go a day without being challenged academically, spiritually, and relationally. Bethel students learn to agree enthusiastically, disagree respectfully, and push themselves beyond their comfort zones. And when they’re not engaged in a theological debate about Calvinism and Arminianism, maybe they’ll meet someone special.
  6. We stay active. Your student doesn’t have to be a MIAC athlete to get their daily dose of exercise. We make good use of the running and biking trails that wind through campus, and our activity doesn’t end with the warm weather. It seems like half the campus braves January’s subzero temperatures to participate in the annual broomball tournament. The other half waits to come out of hibernation just in time for spring slack-lining, the latest sensation sweeping suburban college nation.
  7. We walk earnestly yet imperfectly with God. College students don’t always have everything figured out, and Bethel is a place where students can question, contemplate, and cultivate their relationships with God at their own pace. It didn’t matter whether I was experiencing a spiritual high or low—I always had supportive friends and mentors to help me along the way.  

Jenny Hudalla is a 2015 Bethel graduate who holds degrees in journalism, Spanish, and reconciliation studies along with a minor in media communication. Fond memories from her undergraduate career include serving as editor-in-chief of Bethel’s campus newspaper, eating too many salted pretzels from Target Field, and spending many sun-filled days “studying” with friends along the shores of Lake Valentine. 

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