Students at Biola are unlike any other students I have ever met before. All have a love for Christ that is evident in their lives and they have a passion to make a difference in the world no matter what their major may be. The students are so passionate about their majors as well and there are so many different clubs you can join based on what you want to do with your major. Also, upperclassmen are more than happy to help out underclassmen and give them advice on what teachers to take or what classes are the best. I personally love asking older students for advice for what to get involved in. I am a part of Associated Students of Biola, which is a student run government and it is just so cool to see how many students want to be involved with their school. We plan such crazy, fun events and everyone always wants to attend. Students are proud of their school! Every student has dorm pride as well! Each of dorms are really unique and the RA staff is incredible. I have absolutely loved living in my dorms because of the create community that is created by the students that attend Biola. While some students can afford the tuition, I would say most students are taking out loans and paying a lot of tuition by themselves. Because of this students appreciate their time at Biola and really work hard, making the most of their time here. There are also so many on campus jobs that tons of students work at to help out with loans and just college expenses in general.
Every student at Biola University is required to be a professing Christian. Despite society's normally negative connotation to requirements of this kind, this is an encouragement to all the students here. Everyone encourages another and is extremely friendly to one another. It is rare when someone feels out of place or left out. Students who apply here should be fully aware of the fact that it is a private Christian school and are expected to live their lives as such. Students do not necessarily form cliques here. Most of the time, people are extremely open to having any "type" of student come along on In-N-Out runs or trips to Disneyland. Lunch tables at the cafeteria are usually full of eclectic groups of people that were most likely thrown together because of a relation to another student. Everyone gets along quite well at Biola. One would think that the high tuition would constitute everyone being of a higher social class financially, but this is not so. There are mainly middle to high financial classes represented on campus, but there are some lower financial class students as well. Many trust fully in God to provide their finances, and for many, it works out.
Our school has experienced racial issues especially when there was this controversy about the Jesus Mural. At our campus we have a huge Jesus mural on one of the walls of the science building. Last year, there was a huge discussion/debate about whether it should be taken down because some people felt offended by having a “white” Jesus. The school had the artist come in for one of the chapels and talk with our president. There was a vote on whether it would be taken down. It didn’t come down but the artist came and worked on the mural this semester. He touched it up and made his skin a darker. Students will wear whatever they feel like to class. We have some who walk around barefoot and will wear no shoes to class. Usually students will wear jeans and a t-shirt or sandals. Rainbows (sandals) are in at our school. A lot of students I know are getting financial aid and loans. Money is a big issue here on campus. I feel most students are in the center politically speaking. We don’t talk about politics here. I can’t even remember a time where I talked about politics with any student or teacher. It is a very taboo subject.
Biola is very tolerant. We have chapels dedicated to racial reconciliation and there is no racial tension whatsoever here. Many of the students are Missionary kids and come from impoverished households. That also warrants no discrimination. Everyone is very understanding of each other's struggles and doesn't judge. Only a student that is not a Christian would feel extremely out of place at Biola because every class, every event, and every relationship is focused around Christ and His love. There are many international and out of state students at Biola, and they have no problem fitting in with, interacting with, or making friends because most students are in their same situation. The Student Missionary Union does an excellent job of connecting international students and helping them grow accustomed to American culture. Most students are politically right-winged conservatives. There isn't much focus on money. Many students plan on going into the mission field, where economic stability is rare and most students are working or taking out multiple loans to pay for Biola. It is a more expensive school, but it is worth it.
Biola students care about their faith in Christ and their fellow human beings and it shows through their activities. Most students volunteer with ministries that help combat social injustices, sex trafficking, world hunger, poverty, racial and gender inequalities and a variety of other causes. It is not unusual for students to spend a semester or a few weeks in a far away foreign country serving the people there or regularly involve themselves in some kind of local service. Because tuition is so expensive, many of the students who attend can afford to enjoy all kinds of luxuries that the southern California location offers. Visitors are often surprised at how friendly and trusting everyone is. Overall, most undergraduates invest more of their time in having fun and doing whatever they are passionate about than forwarding their career.
Biola is a private, Christian school that requires one to be a professing Christian to be admitted, so every student on campus claims to be a Christian. I have seen a mix of ethnicities and students from different socio-econimc backgrounds and I have seen both Republicans and Democrats although a majority of the students are predominantly right and conservative. I have seen some students who get dressed up in their nicest clothes for class and others rock sweats and a sweatshirt. Overall, it's a pretty casual place and people feel comfortable wearing just about everything. Everyone on this campus interacts with each other. No matter where you are from or what major you are, I have seen so many different types of groups intermix. The people here are so incredibly friendly and warm and they accept everyone lovingly.
Walking in to the dining hall, there are four tables. One is a small table with two young women who seem to be having a deep and meaningful conversation. Another group, is a group of guys and girls laughing and conversing around a round table. In the corner there is another smaller table with a professor speaking to a small group of students and across the hall is a set of long tables where a group of guys from one dorm are having a meal together. Each conversation sets forth with a mutual understanding of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The conversations are heart changing and often times you will hear a student about how much they are learning and how great Biola has been in cultivating new knowledge, understanding, and enthusiasm.
Students here are obviously very religious and it's safe to say that if you aren't a Yahweh follower you probably won't enjoy certain classes as much as others. But even so secular students are always welcomed and very common as visitors. I would most likely guess that a majority of students are Republican and it's not uncommon to see students engaged in political conversation. With students from all over the world things like politics always keep a conversation going. Most students here are pretty well-off no surprise due to the high tuition costs but kids from all backgrounds and cultures intermingle regularly.
Students at Biola tend to be excited about being here, and serious about engaging their classmates, majors, and professors. Biola attracts students from a variety of socio-economic groups, with a high ratio of out of state and international students, as well as Christian students with mixed political and religious backgrounds. There is no greek system at Biola, and there are very few cliques within the student body - most students make a wide variety of friends throughout the course of their undergraduate education.
My classmates are the most caring people one will ever meet. They consistently reach out to people, both people they know and don't know, trying to get to know them. They honestly care about the mental health and well-being of their peers and want to be a good influence. If one wants to attend a community-focused school with students that are passionate about other students, Biola is the best choice. Everyone is included and made to feel at home, with no one being included. This is a great place to call home.