Christian educators from around the world are anticipating the University’s annual Christian School Recruitment Conference—a prime opportunity for faculty and administratiors from 70 national and international schools to interview prospective students. The conference will be held Monday and Tuesday next week.
“The purpose of the conference is to bring our students and Christian schools together,” said Dr. Brian Carruthers, dean of the School of Education.
The conference, normally later in the year, has been moved up because of Bible Conference. The booths will open Monday after chapel in the Davis Room of the dining common and will end at 9 p.m. Most school representatives will return to campus Tuesday for follow-ups or privately scheduled interviews.
Attendees are encouraged to make use of the new app, Guidebook, at this year’s conference. Each school’s location is designated by an aisle letter and a table number to increase maneuverability and help students find each school more effectively. Guidebook displays a layout of the room, labels each booth and provides a brief description of the school represented.
All students are encouraged to come see the opportunities available. Miss Jane Smith, director of the Center for Advising and Career Services, said many schools may need a web designer or a secretary or a financial adviser or a coach; non-education majors often best fill these fields.
“Look for what would be a good fit for you,” Smith said. “Sometimes they’re recruiting for a few years down the road, and they aren’t just looking for teachers [either]—see what opportunities are out there and see how the Lord guides,” Smith said.
For students who may not have a job secured immediately following graduation or who are still seeking the Lord’s will for their lives, the conference addresses those needs as well. Most representatives who attend the conference are affiliated with a church, and many with international schools maintain a strong missions emphasis.
Ministry is not limited to the Bible, ministerial and education students—ministry is for any believer.
“I remember what Dr. Bob [III] used to always challenge the students [with]; just give the first couple years of your life to a ministry and be an encouragement and a support; then let the Lord use that to direct you to where you ought to go,” Carruthers said.
As important as the Conference is for juniors and seniors, underclassman benefit from the exposure to various ministries and potential careers as well. International schools and missions-based organizations—in places such as China, Guam and Puerto Rico—are constantly in need of solid, Christian young men and women.
Carruthers said the sooner students can start thinking about serving, the better prepared they are to take that step of faith.
Students attending the conference should dress professionally since school representatives take note of the demeanor of students as prospective employees.
“I’m looking for professionalism when they come to those booths. This is how you leave an impression,” said Miss Vonda Chapman, elementary principal of Berean Baptist Academy.
While recruiter Jack Farmer highly appreciates the single-page resume from our students, his experience with middle school and high school has led him to desire more information about prospective students’ personal interests—hobbies, extracurricular activities during college, style and taste on certain topics.
“Give a good cover letter to introduce [yourself,]” Farmer said.
“We know the courses you took, your school and who you are academically based on your resume, but a cover letter that introduces you personally would do very well. That’ll make you stand out.”
Both agreed that coming to BJU’s campus to recruit alleviates some pressure from the students, which helps recruiters since they can observe the students before and after an interview.
Victoria Rexroad, senior early childhood education major, said as a freshman she saw the conference as just another event.
Previously, she never considered teaching in a Christian school, but now that she has finished her classes, begun student teaching, and grown spiritually, she sees the conference as an opportunity for God to open doors.
“It’s far more important to me now than it was freshman year. And there are a ton of doors that you can find openings in [through] these Christian schools,” Rexroad said.
James Godinez, sophomore English education major, said he’s excited for the conference because it is a time to see the diversity in education opportunities around the world.
As he talks to recruiters, he hopes to learn about different schools’ needs and unique characteristics in order to best determine where he should seek employment.
“As a student I can try to work on meeting those needs or becoming a better person and fitting into the culture,” Godinez said.
Andrew Smith, senior music education major, said he wished he had taken the conference more seriously as an underclassman. Now he sees the benefits of establishing networking opportunities early in your college career.
He is thankful for the conference because it forces students to learn how to interact professionally with administrators.
“Learning to ask good questions is key,” Smith said. He also expressed confidence in the preparation provided in education classes.
“Recruiters are looking for competence. Trust the knowledge that you have learned in your methods classes.”