What would you think if I told you that I have wanted to go to Biola University since I was 15 years old? Well...It’s true! Biola has been my dream college for years -- but knowing your dream school and actually attending your dream school are two very different things. 

Calvary Chapel at Biola With Palm Tree in Front
Calvary Chapel at Biola University

I first heard about Biola the summer before my freshman year of high school. I attended a two week long apologetics and leadership training camp called Impact 360 Immersion. During this camp, we attended sessions where professors taught us how to defend our Christian faith and give reasons for the beliefs we held. Many of the professors were from Biola! I heard the name repeated many times throughout the two weeks I was there. When I got home I remember googling Biola and falling in love with the campus -- or at least what Google Images showed me. At the time, I was way too young to be thinking about college and my parents were not prepared to have this discussion with me. I remember my mom telling me that my idea of my dream school would most likely change by the time I was a senior. 

Jessie at Biola!
Jessie at Biola!

Flash forward a few years -- it was college decision time. I still had my heart set on Biola. I had fallen in love with the school. I loved that Biola is biblically centered but also culturally relevant. I loved that many of the professors are established apologists and that I would receive a Bible minor. I loved the small, intimate class sizes and the raving reviews about the professors who establish real friendships with students. I also loved the location -- beautiful Southern California -- but my parents were not keen on the idea of their youngest child and only daughter moving across the country. So, the next hurdle became me trying to convince my parents to let me move to California. My mom prayed that if Biola wasn’t right, the Lord would change my heart. But she also prayed that if Biola WAS the school for me, that He would soften her heart as well. 

After a few weeks of prayer and conversation with my parents, I applied to Biola.

My parents advised me to apply to some local schools--Duke, University of North Carolina, NC State, and even some schools in Georgia-- as a plan B. None of the schools felt right. Even with all of the fantastic programs, beautiful campuses close to home and friendly students, I could not get Biola off my mind. There was something in my heart that felt drawn to this special place. The Lord knew where I belonged, and soon it became clear to my parents and I. 

Jessie and Friend at Biola!
Jessie and Her Friend at Biola!

Long story short, I was accepted. My parents and I flew out to La Mirada to meet with my admissions counselor (Love ya, Brian!!) and go on a tour. Biola felt like home, and Biola still feels like home today. There were some financial hurdles to jump over before I could fully commit, but I firmly believe that where the Lord guides, he provides. I had to surrender my finances to the Lord with faith that he will make a way for me to attend Biola. 

So… with that being said, if you are a high school junior or senior or beyond and you are in the midst of the confusion and stress of choosing a college, I want you to hear a few things from someone who was JUST in your position. 

 Hand over your future to the one who wrote your story. Trust Him (for real!). Surrender control over your college to Him. Let the Lord take you on an adventure--who knows where you will end up if you take his hand and make a leap of faith. Don’t be afraid of doing something crazy -- whether that’s moving across the country to Biola or moving to Indonesia to do missions. The transition can be scary and awkward, but in the end I promise it will work out. If you’re reading this, I hope you feel encouraged and if you’re a prospective student, I hope to see you at Biola! 

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or just want to chat.

Peace and love! :)