Because we have a 30 foot tall mural of Jesus painted on the side of our science building and upon enrollment we are required to sign a statement of faith in God and a student conduct code which prohibits sex, drugs, and alcohol, the common opinion of Biola students is that we are all Christians. We are, after all, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. It doesn’t get more explicit than that. I attended public school, and was convinced I would never want to go to a private Christian school. However, I did, and I felt right at home. In my high school there were kids fighting, drugs sold and bought by students, children who, by their fashion taste and foul language, aspired to 20 years in jail around the same time they got their diploma, and a Samoan campus safety officer with biceps larger than my thighs who everyone knew as “Hammer.” I can only imagine the public university scene when these same kids had cars and money and more bad company. Suffice it to say, the change in pace coming to Biola was enjoyable to say the least. Pretty much everyone at Biola is friendly and nice. We are normal people just like everyone else, from broken families on the wrong side of the tracks to people from foreign royalty here. However, everyone is united under the same belief in Christ. The same values of Christian love and grace to get us through the everyday grind. So while people may say dismissively that Biola is just full of Christians, in a very real and fundamental sense, it is. We have our school controversies and there are things I disagree with, but at the end of the day, we are a family.
The stereotypical Biola student would be a person who either lives in the library and never takes their head out of a book, or a person who sits in chapel and prays all day everyday with no rests. These stereotypes are anything but the truth! Biola is short for Bible Institute of Las Angeles, but don't let the name fool you, this school is much more than sitting in chapel and studying. Biola offers a variety of different majors that students can choose from, because of this many students even choose to double major because they fall in love with more than one of Biolas' majors. They also have many different ways for students to be involved in life on and off of Biola, such as any type of club you can think of, sports teams, student jobs and internships both on and off the campus and so much more. Biola students are anything but their stereotype, they are extraordinary people who choose to live their lives through Jesus Christ our lord, and want to attend a university that shares those same beliefs.
I would say that there are two major stereotypes of the students here at Biola University. The first would be a "missionary kid." Many people seem to have a view of Biola as being a school for missionary kids who have had no experience with the outside world or the United States for that matter, but that is not true. Although there are many missionary kids who do attend Biola, they aren't the only ones and many missionary kids are very up-to-date with culture and are not out of touch with reality like some perceive! The second stereotype of the students at Biola University, is that everyone dresses hipster. I would say that this stereotype is closer to being true. While not everyone has a hipster style with the skinny jeans, black framed glasses, and "toms" shoes, there is a pretty big group of students here that dress just like that and it almost is "the thing to do," but like I said, not everyone dresses that way!
The Biola student body has been reputed to consisting of narrow-minded, judgmental Christians who usually identify with conservative views. Because those attending Biola are professing Christians and sign a contract saying they will veer away from certain activities such as drinking alcohol/using tobacco products, etc...many believe that Biola students are trapped in a bubble of naivety. While this may be true for some students, most are not naive, but disciplined. They are not narrow-minded, but passionate learners who believe things wholeheartedly. Biola is a diverse community, full of differing views and opinions found in people from all over the globe. It is full of people who strive to honor God, but who also struggle greatly. The people here are honest and imperfect, but are being molded and taught, and that's beautiful.
Biola University is unique in that stereotypes do not exist in the same way that they do at most other universities. Yes, there are people who have different personalities, styles and interests; however, students are accepted for who they are at Biola regardless of whether they play sports or are incredibly smart. Somebody may be known for being on the baseball team or being a forensics team member. There are students who have extremely high intelligence and those who like to have fun, but Biola is different because all students have one thing in common. We share our faith at Biola and because of that there are no major stereotypes. Rather, people welcome the differences in each other because differences complement each other. People are first known for their love for God and possibly for other things there after.
The most common stereotype that students at Biola get are "rich, white kids". Because Biola is a private university, the vast majority of students are white and generally well off. Biola also has stereotypes on campus that come in to play based off of activity or major. There are the jocks who are always playing sports and never come to class, there are the Inter Cultural Studies majors who walk around without shoes on, and talk about the Great Commission and organize missions trips. There are the music kids who are in the practice rooms at all hours of the day, and rarely make it outside to socialize. And finally there are the Indie/Hipster kids who usually are majoring in some kind of art or creative outlet, they all dress the same and like the same things.
Due to the fact that I attend a Christian University, I feel as though our school is surrounded with the stigma that we are arrogant and judgmental people. People tend to think that there is no such thing as a Christian education, and the mere thought of it annoys people. However, Biola University is filled with smart, athletic, and outgoing people that are learning more about all kinds of religion everyday. While the schools goal is to prepare students hearts and minds for the real world and equip them with a Christian attitude, it goes above and beyond the possibilities of just religious aspects. Biola does an excellent job in teaching students to become everything from competitive academics, to quality actors/actresses, right in the heart of LA.
Students at Biola have a reputation for being religious and morally conservative because of the profession of Christian faith and community contract all undergraduates agree to upon entry. Everyone signs their name to a statement of agreement- that means no alcohol, no drugs, no smoking, no sex, no gambling and there is even a no dancing policy while you are enrolled. Although this stereotype does accurately describe many of the students at Biola, there are plenty of undergraduates who choose to disregard this standard and most get away with it. The administration also makes some exceptions to these long-standing rules by allowing dances to take place off campus, and on campus as long as they are choreographed, previewed and deemed appropriate.
The stereotype at Biola is that all students live in a "Biola Bubble" and do not get out much and leave not being prepared for the real world. This stereotype is completely false. There is in face a "Biola Bubble" however, but this bubble is an amazing community full of students and faculty that love Jesus Christ and live for Him everyday in all of their actions. So in a sense as a student I am surrounded by an amazing bubble of Godly people willing to help me out with anything and encouraging me to strive to do my best at this University.
The stereotype here at Biola University reflects that mainly of hipster Christian. Due to its sunny location in Southern California and its close relation with the liberal arts, Biola allows students to express their artistic creativity through their clothing style and personalities. Due to our private Christian status, all students are required to be professing Christians, and the campus's students and activities reflect this fact. Each student pushes his or her peers to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ.