What to Expect in a Columbia Lecture

Categories: Life at Columbia

If you’re a recent high school grad, you’re probably wondering about the difference between high school classes and Bible college lectures. Or, maybe you’ve studied at a public college or university and you’re wondering what might be different about lectures at a Bible college.

Here are five things you can expect for your classroom experience at Columbia.

Short Semesters!

In high school, you likely had some subjects that extended from September to mid-June. Or you may have been on the semester system, with classes going from September to January and February to June.

Columbia’s academic year is divided into two semesters. The Fall semester goes from Sept to mid-December, and the Winter semester starts in early January and finishes up mid-April. Each semester you’ll have a brand new set of classes.

What this means for you:

  • Your semesters at Columbia will be shorter than you’re used to, so the pace of learning may feel faster. Expect to dive right in from Day One. Also expect to feel super proud of your progress by the time you hit your first round of exams.

Where to Go, When:

After you register for classes, your class schedule will be available in the Student Portal.

Here’s a video with instructions for accessing your schedule:


Day 1: Hello, Syllabus.

On your first day of class, your instructor will give you a course syllabus. This is like your roadmap for the course – what you’ll be covering in the lectures, the assignments you’ll be tackling, due dates, expectations, the best way to get in touch with your prof. Basically, a super important document you should keep handy and look at often.

Pro-Tip: You’re not alone if you feel a little overwhelmed by the stack of syllabi you’ve collected by the end of Week 1 of classes. Lots of due dates! Our Academic Support hosts an incredible time management tutorial at the beginning of September. They’ll coach you in creating a ‘master plan’ for your semester.

College Lectures…

… depend on the instructor. You’ll experience a range of teaching styles and lecture formats at Columbia. Some days, you may find yourself listening and taking notes for a solid 75 minutes. Other sessions you may divide up into groups to discuss concepts or practice a skill. There will be times when you and your classmates will give presentations and provide feedback to each other. Many lectures will be a mix of absorbing new concepts, Q & A, and discussion. (And maybe a pop quiz!)

What college lectures won’t include is time to work on assignments or reading. At the college level, you’re expected to tackle reading and projects outside of class time, and come to lectures ready to engage with the course material.

Your Instructors Will Ask For Your Name

At Columbia, class sizes are small enough that you’ll be able to get to know your instructors personally. Our faculty teach here because they truly care about students and they’re excited to be a part of your journey as a follower of Jesus. Feel free to ask your instructor to meet up for coffee or stop by their office when you have questions!

Many instructors will also show care for you by starting each lecture with prayer. Some will welcome students to share prayer requests, and others will start class sessions with a short devo time. Our learning involves God in a huge way, and we want to make sure to invite Jesus into every part of what we’re doing.

Interested in more tips for making the transition from high school student to Columbia Bible College student? Read helpful student advice here.

Columbia is welcoming applications for next semester! Learn more about our accredited programs.