If your religion forms a core part of your life and you love counseling people, seminary could be the first step on the path toward being an ordained member of the clergy. It's a good idea to ensure you meet your religion's requirements for ordination before beginning seminary, and you may want to talk to clergy members about their lives to ensure that the seminary is right for you.
Increasingly, seminary programs are offering degrees rather than just training in a particular religion. If you're applying for a degree-granting program, such as a master's of divinity, you will need to graduate college or be in your last year of college. You may have to have a minimum grade-point average, and you'll have to send transcripts from every college you have attended.
Character is important for admission to seminary school, so most schools require recommendation letters. It's helpful to get a recommendation from someone who can speak about your character and interests rather than just your academic achievements. You might, for example, get one letter from your pastor and one from a former professor or employer. If you've done mission work or headed up volunteer projects, it can help to have a recommendation from your supervisor for these projects.
Many, but not all, schools require an essay or a personal statement. These statements are usually brief. Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C. -- for example -- limits the statement to 400 to 500 words. In your essay, you should address why you feel called to the seminary and highlight any work that has influenced your desire to become a member of the clergy. As with any college application, your essay needs to be well-written and closely proofread.
Your application packet includes the completed application containing information about your address, age, previous schools and similar information. Most schools now allow students to complete this online. You'll typically have to include an application fee of $50 to $100, and some seminaries request that students also attach a resume. Your resume should highlight relevant experience such as church volunteer work.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.