So you’re interested in seminary. But how to choose one? Your decision will affect the kind of education you receive, who your future friends and colleagues in ministry will be, where you’ll spend the next two or three years…
Choosing a seminary is certainly a big decision. Below you’ll find out how some current seminary students responded to the question “Why did you choose PTS?” The students come from a variety of theological traditions, educational backgrounds, and stages in life. Their reasons for choosing PTS vary as widely as their backgrounds, but they all share a sense of having been called by God to this place at this time. We hope that hearing why they chose PTS might help you explore whether God is calling you to make a similar choice.
—Ellen Williams ’17 MDiv
As a student, even though I’m away from my family, PTS makes me feel like I have a family here
I made the decision to come to PTS after attending a L.I.V.E. Symposium. Everyone—students and faculty—were so friendly, and the interview I had with Dr. Lapsley felt more like a conversation than an interview. Now, as a student, even though I’m away from my family, PTS makes me feel like I have a family here—there are people I can depend on to be there for me. As a result of studying at PTS, I am better prepared for the ministry work to which God is calling me.
—Erica Earnest ’18 MDiv
Because I knew that I wanted to be a pastor, it was important to me to get my MDiv at an institution that was committed to serving the church
When I visited PTS, my favorite part was the biblical studies department and faculty; I loved the variety of courses offered and the excellent Bible teachers. I already had a background in Greek and Hebrew so I was excited to jump into language exegesis courses as soon as I could. I also appreciated PTS’s commitment to the church and scholarship; PTS attempts to cultivate an environment of rigorous academic reflection that remains closely tied to the church. Because I knew that I wanted to be a pastor, it was important to me to get my MDiv at an institution that was committed to serving the church. Bonus: PTS has an excellent library. It’s a beautiful place to study and contains a wealth of resources. Also, the reference librarian (Kate Skrebutenas) and the archivist (Ken Henke) are awesome people and wonderful storytellers!
—John Paul Cooke ’17 MDiv
PTS was the first place I was moving to where I was trying to be out in my sexuality.
When I showed up to PTS, I had never experienced a community and group of friends that just said “yes” to me. Every one of them welcomed me and celebrated me in a way I had not experienced before. It was so life-giving to me and I felt I was able to bring that into the classrooms as well. We have a lot of work to do, but that’s a reflection of the church. Being at PTS is a continual practice of making a space for everyone at the table.
—Meredith Cox ’18 MDiv/MACEF
What I love about PTS is how welcome I feel and how affirmed I feel as a woman seeking ordination in the church
I chose PTS because I was drawn to the subjects being taught here, the sincerity of the professors, as well as the positive and tight-knit community of students who worship, learn, and laugh together. What I love about PTS is how welcome I feel and how affirmed I feel as a woman seeking ordination in the church. In addition, I love how every class I take leaves me with a wider perspective of the world and the faith – every time I think my eyes have been fully opened, I’m ever more surprised that it can happen again and more fully in class, with a fellow student’s words, and in chapel. I have felt God’s rich grace in these and many other ways at PTS.
—Taylor Mills ’17 MDiv
PTS is a great place for second career students to discern their call
I had two very informative visits to PTS prior to making my final decision. I came away feeling that, despite being much older than the average student, I would be welcomed and supported by faculty, students, and staff. This has certainly proven to be true. PTS is a great place for second career students to discern their call. I chose PTS for a variety of reasons, but in particular for its faculty, course offerings, and connections to Princeton University. Students can take a variety of Princeton graduate level classes.
—Bill Horne ’18 MDiv
PTS has definitely challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone
Seminary was not my original plan… at all! But I felt like it would be a place I could grow. PTS has definitely challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone, to learn more about myself, and to grow closer to God in ways I didn’t know were possible. I don’t think that could have happened anywhere else!
—Taylor Street ’19 MDiv/MACEF
I came to PTS because I wanted to be a formed in a place that sees teaching as ministry
I came to PTS because I wanted to be a formed in a place that sees teaching as ministry, and I particularly wanted to study under Dr. McVey and Dr. Rorem. My final decision was made after PTS made its financial aid offer! I love the community at PTS—the academic community, the spiritual community, and the community of friends. I also love our world-class library and the fact that we have access to thousands of other books in Princeton through the university’s libraries and the public library. It makes research so much easier when you can just walk across the street for the resources you need, whether that resource is a 16th century Complutensian Polyglot Bible or a 1980’s dissertation from an extinct school in Canada.
—Emily Chesley ’17 MDiv
I knew PTS was the best place where I could be confronted and challenged with unique theological perspectives
I attended a prospective students’ seminar in which I was able to experience first-hand everything the seminary had to offer. After my visit and much prayer, I knew PTS was the best place where I could be confronted and challenged with unique theological perspectives that differ from those of my upbringing. And this variety of thought extends beyond the curriculum of lectures and assigned readings: although PTS is Presbyterian, the Seminary attracts such a diverse student body—all bringing their own backgrounds, experiences, creativities, and interpretations. I have found that the administration has made the most of this and has created an environment that fosters community, where we the students are encouraged to learn from our peers almost as much as our esteemed professors.
—Sunil Persad ’19 MDiv
When I had the opportunity to visit the school I knew that it was definitely the place for me: it’s a vibrant and diverse community with a really great mix of academic rigor, discipleship, and service
I have been blessed with a number of wonderful Christian leaders in my life, many of whom were PTS graduates. As such, PTS was always top-of-mind for me. However, when I had the opportunity to visit the school I knew that it was definitely the place for me: it’s a vibrant and diverse community with a really great mix of academic rigor, discipleship, and service. Princeton, too, is a great place to study—it’s a beautiful community with great connections to Philadelphia, New York City, Trenton, and New Brunswick.
—Ian Clark ’18 MDiv
I love the blending of academics and practical ministry
I chose PTS for a few reasons. One is that I am PC(USA) and I appreciate the benefits and support that PTS has to offer PC(USA) students. Another reason is that my college experience was residentially based, and I was excited about continuing that residential aspect in seminary. Finally, I love the blending of academics and practical ministry. There is room for both here, as well as support for both. PTS is only what you make it, but the curriculum has a lot of focus in both directions. As someone who wants to be a pastor, and who really appreciates learning, this balance is really important to me.
—Katherine Scott ’17 MDiv
Want to talk with a current student more in depth about their experience at Princeton Seminary? Schedule a visit, or ask to speak with a current student, by emailing [email protected]! We look forward to hearing from you!
“Princeton Seminary helped me whittle down to the core of my faith and helped me discover what mattered most to me.”