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3 years at Union vs 1.5 at a local Seminary


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This is a brutal dilemma professionally... I got into Union Theological Seminary and while the conversation is continuing it looks like they will not allow me to transfer any of my prior MAR work, which means I would require a full three years study (perhaps with loosened course requirements). I also interviewed at a (ATS accredited) local seminary in driving distance from my hometown that would transfer half their program requirements and let me finish in 3 semesters. 


- Ministry oriented, possibly military chaplaincy

- In early 30s, young enough that I can do the full 3 years, old enough that I feel the difference


Pros for Union

Academically much better known


In the rare position that my finances are better there (GI Bill would net me about 1500 a month more at Union)

Cons for Union

THREE YEARS when I have two years of doing this already. (my goal is was/is to try for 4 semesters)

gobbles up three of the four years of my GI Bill


Pros for Local Seminary

1.5 years, both in terms of return to workforce and GI Bill use

Hometown (networking for local churches, I could get politically involved quickly)

I interviewed with them. Nothing but good vibes on a personal level

Cons for Local Seminary

Much less likely to get into a Ph.D program if I choose to go that route

Hometown (double edged sword, NYC has appeal)

The school is struggling (which is why I haven't named them here) in terms of recruiting and finances.


I'm really at a loss guys.

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@ChristoWitch87 While I don’t have a great deal of background in the realm of seminaries/DS, I have had a fairly successful career and would comment on two items; the longevity of a career and the quality of education.

I can certainly see your trepidation in having to delay your career path by a year and a half, but would say given the duration of contemporary careers (folks frequently work well into their 60s and 70s, especially in this career path), in the long run, it’s fairly negligible and will seem like a minor blip on the screen in 8-10 years.

I think the second point will be profoundly more impactful; given that you have already completed studies at YDS, the relative quality and depth of education will be noticeable and affect your time at the local institution. Much like riding in a nice car, going back to the commuter pass can be revealing and at time frustrating. Also, if you do harbor aspirations of a PhD down the road, it would mitigate those options. Finally, if you do go to Union...we can be drinking buddies-wink!

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