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Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University (ACU) is a private, non-profit university in Abilene, Texas, affiliated with Churches of Christ. ACU was founded in 1906 as Childers Classical Institute with 24 students. Today the college has more than 4,500 students. Abilene first received accreditation in 1971 when it became a member of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

ACU is a diverse, welcoming, academically rigorous institution redefining what it means to be a Christian university in the 21st century. If you come from a homeschool background, you will be glad to know that ACU is a university with time-honored traditions, an intimate learning environment, a vibrant campus community that feels like a family, and a culture that fosters spiritual development.

Graduates of ACU have become best-selling authors, award-winning artists, Pulitzer Prize winners, Olympic gold medalists, world champions, members of Congress, academic leaders and much more. Famous alumni include Max Lucado, best-selling Christian author; Bonnie Curtis, producer of Saving Private Ryan and The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Joe Shirley, President of the Navajo Nation. Former ACU football player Taylor Gabriel will be playing in Super Bowl LI with the Atlanta Falcons on February 5, 2017.

Academics

Abilene Christian University offers more than 70 undergraduate programs and 135 areas of study, all of which are deeply rooted in Christian values. ACU also offers 27 master’s degrees in a wide range of fields. Online master’s and doctoral degree programs focus on one class at a time during six- or seven-week terms. No matter what your major or desired career, you’ll receive an innovative, faith-based education and leave ACU prepared and inspired to lead and serve.

Supported by a caring faculty of Christian scholars and professionals, 93% of whom have highest degree in their field, ACU prepares undergraduate and graduate students for service and leadership. Small class sizes with a 14:1 student-faculty ratio promote deeper conversations and foster relationships between peers and professors in a close-knit, Christ-centered atmosphere. You’ll learn in state-of-the-art classrooms and collaborate in high-tech spaces. Real-world learning opportunities, such as internships, projects, research and study abroad, complement your classroom learning.

The Optimist, the university’s student-produced newspaper, was founded in 1912. The Prickly Pear, the school yearbook, was founded in 1916. The campus literary-arts magazine has been in production since 1933. ACU is one of only seven faith-based institutions with a press. The Abilene Christian University Press publishes works in the areas of Biblical Commentaries; Christian Higher Education; Christian Living; Christian Theology; Church/Restoration History; Evangelism; Hermeneutics (preaching); and West Texas Regional Studies. ACU Press titles have been endorsed by prominent figures such as Ken Starr, Eugene Peterson, Rick Warren, and Jimmy Carter.

Student Life

ACU’s residential campus offers students a safe place to grow intellectually and spiritually — and to learn to live independently.

As a freshman and sophomore, a dormitory will be your home away from home; upperclassmen live in campus apartments. Residence halls and apartments are all equipped with modern amenities (laundry, kitchens) and offer common spaces for socializing and studying. Dining Services at ACU provides plenty of food choices.

ACU is one of the few Christian colleges that maintains daily required chapel for all undergraduate full-time students. Chapel is a 30-minute praise and worship time, usually with a featured speaker. The whole campus stops classes and activities for chapel.

Division I athletics, intramural sports, 100+ student organizations, and countless service and worship opportunities contribute to ACU’s vibrant student life. The recreation and wellness center offers loads of fun ways to stay fit (or relax) including ball courts, a rock wall, fitness center, lazy river and outdoor adventure rentals.

Campus Landscape

Visit Abilene Christian University and you will immediately see that its landscape of trees, grass, perennial flower beds, butterfly garden, fountain lake, and Jacob’s Dream sculpture garden with limestone pool add significantly to the beauty of the campus for students, faculty, and visitors.

Located in the heart of “Big Country,” ACU’s 250-acre campus sits in the midst of the Rolling Plains, and is an oasis of green comprised of 2,136 trees. With its abundance of beautiful landscaping, the university has excelled in building a Green Infrastructure for which it can be proud.

To better understand the role trees play on campus, a partnership between Abilene Christian University and Texas Trees Foundation was created to inventory and study the shade and ornamental tree species growing on the campus grounds.

Surrounding Community

The campus of Abilene Christian University is located in the bustling west Texas city of Abilene, Texas. ACU is the largest of seven colleges in the area, three of which are religiously affiliated. The cultural aspects of Abilene center around a mix of the local college and university campuses, the agriculture community of the surrounding area, and the numerous evangelical churches present.

Abilene is home to Dyess Air Force Base, the restored art-deco Paramount Theatre, the Abilene Philharmonic, the Grace Museum, the Center for Contemporary Arts, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, the Abilene Zoo, Frontier Texas!, the 12th Armored Division Museum, Taylor County Coliseum, 29 parks and three athletic complexes, as well as many special-interest conventions and festivals throughout the year.

Homeschool Applicants

Abilene Christian University has a favorable admission policy for homeschooled students, which is basically the same as for all high school students. The university’s states, “If you come from a home-school background you may be looking for a university with an intimate learning environment, a campus community that feels more like a family and a culture that fosters authentic spiritual development. We believe you’ll find these things – a close-knit, Christ-centered atmosphere for your growth – at ACU.”

ACU offers merit based scholarships based on a student’s SAT/ACT score and class rank. According to ACU admissions, “For home-school students, we have a formula that translates your GPA into a traditional class rank. ACU will calculate class rank after a student has completed his/her admissions file. Students may increase their merit-based scholarships until May 1 of their enrolling year by testing higher on the SAT/ACT or resubmitting their senior transcripts.”

ACU also realizes that creating a transcript from your homeschool records can be tricky. According to ACU, “High school curriculum often comes from multiple sources. Your transcript should combine these sources into one document listing the courses you’ve taken (organized by academic year), the grade you earned in each course, and the number of credits assigned to each course. Your transcript should also state your high school GPA on a four-point scale (do not include work completed prior to high school).” ACU offers a free GPA calculator to help students calculate their high school GPA.

Dual credit is another option for homeschooled students. Make sure all AP courses are listed as such on your high school transcript. If your homeschool curriculum was exceptionally rigorous, you may wish to earn credit by exam through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

Homeschooler Testimonial

For Amy Morris Bryant (’14) Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting, the transition from homeschooling to ACU was simple.

“The transition was not as difficult as I expected. I felt very prepared academically coming to ACU,” Amy says. “Through homeschooling, I had developed a strong work ethic and lots of self discipline.”

As a homeschooled student, Amy’s parents taught her the immense value of a Christ-centered education, with an emphasis on building true relationships. Amy believes ACU fosters the same type environment, making her transition to college even smoother.

“A lot of the values that homeschoolers hold are the same values that ACU tries to implement,” Amy says. “My parents wanted me to get a Christ-centered education and wanted family to be a big part of my life growing up. At ACU, the same values are encouraged and sought after.”

Relationships are important to Amy, and that is ultimately why she chose to come to ACU. Her final decision where she wanted to go to school was difficult, but she saw an opportunity to build intimate relationships on a smaller campus with like-minded individuals.

At ACU, Amy has learned to make her beliefs her own, becoming a well-versed apologetic for her faith. She believes ACU has helped her develop an even deeper relationship with Christ, all the while receiving a world-class education. The decision to attend ACU proved to be the right one for Amy.

“ACU is an incredible place. You will receive a great education, but more importantly you’ll become part of the family here. ACU is small enough that you cannot go anywhere without seeing a familiar face, but large enough to offer a competitive education. For me, it has been the perfect combination.”

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