Scarborough essay contest winners demonstrate distinctive Christian worldview

Katie Coleman
| Jun 4, 2021

Scarborough College at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has named 16 winners in the inaugural Prize in Christian Worldview Scholarship Essay Contest, with the Presidential Scholarship awarded to Jack Hickman from Denton, Texas.

Hickman, who will pursue a Bachelor of Music in Worship Studies, will receive full tuition, room and board, and books.

The essay contest was open to all prospective students enrolling in Scarborough College. Each applicant was asked to write an argumentative essay answering the question, “Why should a Christian study at a distinctively Christian college?”

“We wanted to open up a new avenue for Christian academic scholarship at the college,” says Benjamin M. Skaug, dean of Scarborough College. “Since the college exists to glorify God by providing trustworthy Christian higher education for more faithful Kingdom service, we provided a way for thoughtful Christian applicants to articulate their understanding of the necessity of believers attending a distinctively Christian College.”

Essay submissions were received and judged by an essay review committee comprised of the heads of the Christian Studies department and the Humanities department. All essays were received anonymously and reviewed without knowledge of any details about the applicants so that awards were based solely on the merits of the essays, Skaug says.

Skaug explains that the committee looked for essay submissions that ultimately reflected the characteristics of a successful Scarborough College student and communicated a developed and informed point of view on the essay topic.

“First, we wanted to see a distinctively Christian worldview thoughtfully expressed through writing,” Skaug says. “Second, we wanted to see the student’s ability to think, interact with appropriate level scholarship, and write in a biblically faithful and logical manner.

“Third, we know who we are and the type of student we are looking for at Scarborough College. We are looking for a Christian who is dedicated to growing spiritually through sanctification and academically through hard work. We wanted to see these dedications and commitments expressed through quality writing.”

Skaug says Hickman’s essay was a “winsome display” of these qualities and that he best demonstrated the research and analytical thinking skills expected from college students.

“He was able to work with Scripture in a way that demonstrates that he sees the Bible as the ultimate primary reference work,” Skaug says. “Mr. Hickman will be a great asset to our college, and I am certain that our faculty will help him grow and mature into the Christian scholar that God has created him to be.”

Hickman begins classes this fall and says the campus, the degree plans, and the faculty were all influential factors in choosing Scarborough College as the next step in his calling. The scholarship, he says, allows him to better focus on this calling and his academic work.

“It meant so much to me that I was chosen to receive the scholarship,” Hickman says. “What greater assurance that the Lord wants me to be at this school!”

“I am looking forward to the fellowship and connecting with other Christians who are like-minded in their faith and their goals,” Hickman says.

The committee ultimately awarded 16 students with prizes at varying levels. In addition to the Presidential Scholarship, awards included the Provost’s Scholarship with a prize of full tuition and books, the Dean’s Scholarship with a prize of full tuition, and the Academic Scholarship with a prize of half tuition.

All scholarships are awarded until the student graduates, or up to a total of four years. Winners must maintain good academic standing and maintain conduct in keeping with the Southwestern Seminary code of conduct.