You can’t know what it will be like to send your student off to college until you’ve done it — that’s why we asked the experts: current Biola parents! On Wednesday, June 26 we held our second “Ask Me Anything” Webinar: Ask a Current Biola Parent which featured members of the Biola Parent Council and our very own current Biola mom, Rebecca Irwin.

Find the webinar recording, answers to the questions and links below, and explore more resources on our Prospective Parents webpage.

Get to know the parents... 

Liz & Jolly Chen: from Hayward, CA. Have a current Biola Junior and alum.

    Rebecca Irwin: from Long Beach, CA. Has a current Biola Junior.

      Lisa Hawley: from Everett, WA. Has a current Biola Senior and alum.

        David & Carrie Cronk: from La Habra, CA. Have a current Biola Junior, Freshman and alum.

          What’s one thing you wish you had known before sending your student to college?

          • Lisa: Don’t be too hurt if your student isn’t constantly updating you! They’re meeting so many people and doing so many new things — do your best not to take it too personally.

          • Rebecca: Four years can go by SO FAST! There are so so many things to do. Encourage your student to fully dive in while they’re here.

          • David & Carrie: Encourage your student to be as involved as possible, and encourage them to not be SO focused on grades that they forgo building meaningful relationships with fellow students. That’s a big part of their education too!

          What was one concern you had about your child attending Biola that was alleviated once they arrived?

          • Lisa: We didn’t have any major concerns apart from the general anxiety with our first child, but move-in weekend is so well done. Biola does a great job of helping both students and parents in the transition.

          • Liz & Jolly: We loved the Communion service during New Student Orientation. Praying over our child during this service as we launched them into Biola was so meaningful. We knew we were sending our child to an institution with godly people who would nurture our son. We saw that throughout — our son got to know the professors, played basketball with them and quickly joined their community. Basically Biola was an extension of mom and dad, in a way.

          What was it like having your student come home for the first time?

          • Liz & Jolly: It’s interesting… you think your child will want to see mom and dad and siblings, but our experience was that mostly students just want to sleep and then see their hometown friends. Mostly you want to make sure your home is a restful place for your student and not fill their time at home with too many things. We recommend making a date with a student to guarantee you’ll have quality time with them during their time at home!
            • We also implemented that THEY don’t have curfews, but our cars do! Our cars have to be home by midnight.

          • Rebecca: Your student is now used to being autonomous, so hold your expectations loosely and find a way to work together with their time.

          • Lisa: We sat down and had a meeting with our kids the first time they came home. We had a full discussion with them to establish expectations so that both sides knew what was expected. That really helped the transition.

          What was one thing you or your student had to learn the hard way going through college?

          • Rebecca: Getting enough sleep! My son wanted to do ALL the things and still maintain a class schedule and work. At some point he just literally burnt out and had to find a way to say “no.” That’s something he had to learn on his own, not something I could have told him.

          • Liz & Jolly: Navigating the life-long lesson of friendships was especially challenging. Friendships really change with ebbs and flows through college, and they don’t always match your expectations. We wanted to come alongside our son, offer him the wisdom and help him establish good expectations for friendships.
            • As a freshman meeting hundreds of people, your student needs to have good expectations with roommates especially. Maybe this person isn’t going to be their best friend, and that’s okay!

          What drew your family to Biola?

          • Lisa: We did a deep dive at first and looked at websites to see statements of faith. We found that Biola was a place that was faithful to its mission. We came to campus, visited chapels and classes and had many conversations with Biola staff and faculty, and Biola continually came to the top. We also loved that our kids would get the minor in Bible AND have biblical integration in all of their classes

          • Liz & Jolly: We heard of Biola because we had relatives who attended Talbot, but we weren’t familiar with Christian schools. With a Christian school, we were worried that it wasn’t going to be as prestigious or have the right financial aid, but we always had that alleviated with Biola. Biola also had the Torrey Honors program which was phenomenal and really fit our son’s mode of learning.

          • Rebecca: For my son, he met a current Biola student who was a lifeguard at Hume Lake and he was really attracted to the type of person he was. My son applied to five other schools and tried to be so thorough, but two things influenced his decision: a professor said one of the greatest things you can gain from your education is mentorship and the relationship there. That has been exceptional for my son at Biola. The other thing was the Bible minor. He has appreciated the discussion and being able to wrestle with his questions in a space that is permissible for him to do so.

          Did any of your students come from a public education and did they feel like they struggled with Bible courses compared to other students?

          • Rebecca: my son attended Long Beach Poly High School, and I don’t feel like he struggled with Biola’s Bible classes. In the Bible classes here there is such grace. Professors know that everyone is growing at different rates and they are open to conversations.

          • Kayla (host): I came from a public school, and during my time at Biola the Bible classes were challenging in all of the best ways, causing me to grow. Like Rebecca highlighted, there was so much grace as well.

          My student would like to bring his desktop computer and use a laptop for classes. Do you think this would work?

          • Rebecca: My son tried to do something similar. He did it for a while, but changed because he felt a bit chained to his desk with a desktop computer when his friends were going to the library. He upgraded to a more powerful laptop instead and appreciated the freedom.

          • Lisa: Having a portable laptop was really helpful for my students to access everything they needed across campus.

          • Liz & Jolly: We agree! Laptops were helpful for our students.

          Do you recommend students bring a car to campus?

          • David & Carrie: Our son didn’t have a car on campus for three years and was fine. At times it was inconvenient but totally doable. Many students will take scooters or bikes to get around campus and to nearby grocery stores. And our son was often able to get rides with friends when he needed them.

          • Lisa: We are from out of state and neither of our students had a car during their freshman year. It made our students have to work a little harder and reach out to others to ask for rides to church or the grocery store. Our students also always have rides to the airport every single time they ask. Cars are helpful once they become upperclassmen and are doing things like residencies or internships, but not having them as freshmen really encouraged our students to get involved on campus.

          What does it look like for your student to get involved in a local church?

          • Liz & Jolly: It’s really important to encourage your student to be involved in a local church even though they’re getting fed spiritually on campus.

          • David & Carrie: We’ve loved Grace EV Free in La Mirada. There are lots of professors there, and they encourage students to get involved in volunteering.

          • Kayla (host): Something we really stress is that Biola is not a replacement for the local church. Chapel is great, but we always encourage students to find a local church and get involved, and we also often have churches come to campus to interact with students. Our Spiritual Development team has a great list of local churches.

          What did you do when your student got sick or hurt?

          • Rebecca: The Biola Health Center is wonderful. My son went to Hawaii with friends for spring break. While he was there he stepped on a sea urchin, and when he got back he made an appointment with the Biola Health Center, got in the same morning to see the physician and they removed the nettles that were still in his foot and gave him antibiotics.

          • Liz & Jolly: For small things, the Biola Health Center is great. For bigger things, it’s important to educate your student on what health insurance is and who they should call when they need help.

          Did any of your students have experience using campus resources?

          Do you have any travel recommendations?

          • Lisa: John Wayne (Santa Ana) airport is close and Southwest Flies into it. Long Beach is also close and fantastic. LAX is nearby, but is such a big airport and can be a headache, and Burbank or Ontario are all okay in a pinch. We’ve never had any bad issues with our kids traveling. I recommend trying to get your Thanksgiving flight home as early as possible to get the cheapest rate. Typically we’ll get our students home the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Break this year is November 27 - December 30.

          • Liz & Jolly: We recommend spending a little bit more to avoid LAX if you can!

          • Rebecca: It’s also helpful to know that there are plenty of local families willing and wanting to host students who can’t go home for every break! Don’t worry that your student will just be sitting alone in their dorm room.

          Did you always feel safe with your student walking at later hours?

          • Rebecca: During my son’s freshmen year he and friends decided to sleep outside in hammocks in the trees, and I was worried. But I learned the next day that campus safety had checked in on them at least twice! I don’t worry about my son’s safety. Biola has an amazing safety crew who are constantly ensuring that students are safe on campus.

          • Lisa: We have a daughter and have felt so good about Biola. We have never felt unsafe with her on campus. Chief O is fantastic — he has won numerous awards for his safety programs at Biola. Students can alway call campus safety for an escort if they want it, but we have never had fears about our daughter being unsafe on Biola’s campus.