My impression is that schools such as Georgia Tech sacrifice a complete education in order to give engineering students a first-rate technical background. For example, your public speaking class is geared to technical communication. Your writing class is as well. And there's just not much time for the liberal arts classes which give us a deeper understanding of our culture. Basically, you're being prepared for a certain type of job.
Liberal arts schools focus on the broader classical education; Covenant's distinctiveness is to impart this knowledge within a Reformed, Christian perspective. Of course, the drawback here is the limited opportunities for people with exceptional analytical and quantitative skills.
The dual degree program offers the best of both educational worlds. It also provides a chance to experience two completely different social contexts, each of which is valuable and can lead to growth as a Christian.
Tim Van Voorhis
Professor at Iowa State University
1988 Dual Degree Student
I believe that God placed me at Covenant College first because He wanted to teach me more about who I was (am) and who He is. During that time it was very important for me to be with other believers who could keep me accountable and point me in the right direction. Covenant College also provided a great academic foundation in science, engineering and the liberal arts. I was well prepared for Georgia Tech when I left Covenant.
God used Georgia Tech to develop my academic knowledge and to grow me spiritually as I experienced a very different culture compared to Covenant. At Georgia Tech God taught me more about "the world" and how hard it is to find that balance between being "in" it and not "of" it.
From a professional point of view, it was a great experience to be able to attend 2 very different schools/cultures and receive 2 bachelor degrees.
Senior Aerodynamics Design Engineer
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
I chose the dual-degree program because I wanted both a real Christian liberal arts education and engineering training from a major technical university. I knew I wanted to be an engineer by profession but felt I needed the Christian liberal arts background to have a more well rounded perspective.
Department of Defense
I believe the dual-degree program provides students with a terrific opportunity to start their college career in a Christian environment and then complete an academically rigorous course of studies at Georgia Tech. The three years I spent at Covenant adequately prepared me academically for Georgia Tech, but more importantly they allowed me to build relationships and receive instruction that developed my Christian character. Even though it has been twelve years since I left Covenant, my closest friends are still former Covenant students. While Georgia Tech presented new academic challenges, receiving a degree from such a highly respected institution was worth the effort. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in engineering studies to enroll in the dual-degree program.
Coming from high-school, I struggled with deciding to go to Covenant or to go straight to Tech. I wanted the Christian environment, Biblical teaching, close friendships, and small school college life that Covenant had to offer. But I also wanted to study engineering, and I knew the importance of getting a degree from a reputable school. The dual degree program provided the best possible solution. I had three wonderful years at Covenant building relationships, enjoying college life, and gaining both an engineering foundation and a broad liberal arts education. I also enjoyed the Biblical teaching and reformed worldview that I gained at Covenant, but it wasn't until after I transferred to Tech that I realized how important those had been. The teaching I received at Covenant kept me grounded spiritually and personally as I went through a difficult transition period in my life. School at Tech is great. I love going to a large international university. I enjoy the professional and academic opportunities, the variety of people and cultures, and the benefits of big university life -- nationally televised sports teams, extra-cirricular activities, and a world renowned reputation. Best of all, I graduate with 2 bachelor degrees in 5 years. I have had the best college experience. I recommend the dual degree program to anyone interested in science or engineering.
May 2001 Covenant Graduate
December 2001 Georgia Tech Graduate
I've often been asked by people why I spent three years in the pre-engineering program at Covenant College. Isn't mathematics the same whether you believe in God or not? Sure, the equation are still the same, but the more fundamental questions--the meaning of natural laws, the motivation in studying science--will be viewed from the perspective of one's worldview.
The physics classes at Covenant were taught from the perspective that natural laws are our human mathematical descriptions of what we observe of God's covenant faithfulness in sustaining creation. The laws are subjective and can change as our understanding of the physical creation changes, but the underlying order results from God's objective faithfulness to his promise to sustain creation. That truth is perhaps the one thing I'm most thankful for from studying physics at Covenant rather than at a secular school; its a truth that really enriches and motivates studying creation. Remembering that the equations are descriptions of the faithfulness of our covenant-keeping God had the double impact of providing additional motivation to study when I was tired of studying, and of strengthening my faith in the truth that God keeps his covenant promises.
The smaller class sizes at Covenant provided me with access to my professors whenever I didn't quite get something in class or in my studying. Most of my professors probably could have had better paying, more prestigious jobs at larger research universities or in industry, and yet they set an example of faithful service where God had called them; they cared about me as a student and were willing to spend time answering questions. They also showed interest in the broader life of the college, by participating in Philosophy club events or eating with students in the dining hall.
Taking my maths, sciences, and foundational engineering courses at Covenant provided me with a solid preparation for Georgia Tech. Additionally, I had the breadth of a liberal arts background from Covenant, which enabled me to grasp interdisciplinary concepts and contextualize new ideas in ways that some of my classmates were not able to do because of the more narrow, technical focus of their academic backgrounds. Perhaps most importantly, the biblical perspective on science and natural laws provided me with invaluable motivation to study and real interest in learning during some of the engineering courses I found difficult or not as interesting while at Georgia Tech. I recommend the dual degree program for engineering because it will give you both solid academic preparation and a biblical understanding of the foundations of the scientific disciplines on which engineering is built.
Volkert & Associates, Inc.
2003 Dual Degree Student