Monday, February 23, 2009

What To Do?

I graduated from my undergrad in 2003. I immediately applied at Acts Seminary at Trinity Western University and began a Masters of Arts in Christian Studies there. After one course (Intro to NT Greek - B+), and learning that Masters courses I was beginning in Victoria were transferable to Regent College and not to Acts, I switched schools. I enrolled as a student at Regent, with the intention of attaining my Masters of Christian Studies in Applied Theology, but didn't actually apply to that program as I knew it would take longer than the 5 year maximum they allowed.

I took four Applied Theology courses in Vic over 2 years, but did not get credit for them as I didn't have the money to put into it. Plus, I'm always eager to get free education :) I have taken 2 courses (5 credits) at Regent, where each credit costs about $500. I need 60 credits to graduate, so not only do I have a long way to go, but $$MONEY$$!!!!

So, that's where I've been, and lately I've been trying to figure out where to go now. I have looked at various options over the years, and have generally not decided much. A year ago, before JL and I found out Leilani was coming to visit, I decided that doing the Arrow Leadership Program (which gets me credits with Regent, but not many) would be the best initial move forward. But I've recently been encouraged to take an MA in Leadership with Royal Roads or UVic instead. So now there's lots of options.

I'm writing all this, not to bore you (you can stop reading anytime you feel, and move along with your day), but rather to inform you about my life and ask your opinion of 'what to do?' (note title). Below is a list of pros and cons for each option I'm currently looking at. Feel free to pass along your thoughts, or any further options you may suggest for my consideration.

Regent College MCS:
+ Great reputation within church (good cred if I remain pastor for life)
+ LPC will give me ~$1500 for courses
+ I'm already in this program
+ Lots of freedom in my degree, which allows me to take courses I enjoy
- Will take me at least 5 years, probably more to complete
- Related to above, no real end in site has been bad in past for Andy (including with education)
- Not as well recognized outside of church (what if I am not pastoring?)
- Still not sure how to meet residency requirements (doing on-site courses)

Arrow Leadership Program:
+ Great support among other Christians in cohort
+ Counts for credits toward Regent degree (not many, but a few)
+ I get a scholarship and LPC will probably give me money as well (still $4500 out of my own pocket)
+ Only 2 years
+ Good reputation within some church circles
+ Supposedly really good (and devastating) for personal awareness and spiritual life
- Takes 2 years, and then I still have 3+ years left to get actual Masters degree
- Quite a lot of money considering what credits I get
- Hesitation in past has been my disagreement with leadership philosophy of Arrow CEO (also a prof)

MA in Leadership Studies at UVic:
+ Comparably really cheap compared to other degree options (about $9-10K total)
+ Walk away in 2-3 years with a Masters degree
+ Good reputation everywhere (not JUST Christian agencies)
+ Great learning, more academic than Arrow
+ A foreseeable end in sight... very good for Andy
+ Thesis option allows for future in academia (not currently a big priority for me)
- Possibly no financial help from LPC
- Possibly not recognized as equivalent to Masters at seminary for LPC or other church
- Have to apply and get accepted!
- Not Christ-focused (a con suggested by a mentor, though I think this has value too)

MA in Leadership at Royal Roads:
Same as above except
+ Lower admission requirements mean I should be a lock to get in
- Twice the price of UVic
- No thesis option

And that's that. Thanks for helping me with going through this process.


James Kingsley said...

sounds like you'd be the perfect candidate for the "school of hard knocks."

tough choices for sure though. that said, i'm pretty confident that you'd be able to "make it count" whatever you choose. even if you switched midstream.

Cory said...

I really like that hat and diploma pic. Tubular dude.

AJ Renton said...

There's a Bible in it too! Can't you see?

But seriously, thanks for the good insight Cory :)

Anonymous said...

Talk to Andrew Dean, he's taking the Masters at Royal Road right now I think...