Completing the application for a seminary program is often part of the discernment process. As you formulate the answers to your questions and write about experiences and people pivotal to your growth, you’ll find yourself reflecting on your Christian formation. You may notice how these people and experiences have encouraged your desire to serve God through your vocation. You may be drawn to humbly assess your gifts and abilities for the work to which God may be calling you.
For some, this can feel a little overwhelming. We are here to help as you work through the process.
As you prepare your application, here are all the things you will need.
1. The online application
Our entire application is completed online. When you visit apply.westernsem.edu, you will be prompted to create an account which will allow you to start and stop as much as you need.
The application form collects basic information such as contact information, educational history, and a simple self-assessment.
You will use the online application to upload other necessary documents and request references.
We require an official copy of your undergraduate transcripts for admission to programs.
An official copy is an unopened paper copy sent by the registrar’s office or an electronic copy sent by the registrar through a third party (they’ll know what that means!)
You can order them online from most schools. You can also call the registrar at the undergrad institution to order one. (Sorry, we can’t accept the copy you might already have!)
If you completed more than nine credits at an institution other than the one that granted your degree, we will need a copy from this school.
And, if you’re hoping to transfer in any credits from another graduate program, we’ll need copies of these transcripts too!
Transcript Tip: You don’t have to wait to have a complete application to request your transcripts. Request these as soon as you start your application. We will add them to your file when we receive them.
3. Written Materials
Each program requires different written materials as part of your application. Take a look at the programs listed below and what you will need:
To apply for any of our graduate certificate programs, you will submit a one-page, double-spaced theological book reflection or a previous academic writing assignment.
This writing sample is designed to demonstrate your ability to write and engage a text.
Are you feeling anxious or uncertain? Talk to a member of our team! We are happy to help you.
Master of Arts and Master of Divinity:
If you are applying for an MA or MDiv, you will need to include two written materials as part of your application.
A book reflection
The book reflection serves as a writing sample and demonstrates your ability to engage with written material. For your book reflection, select three books (not Scripture) that have influenced how you think about and live the Christian Life. You will then write a paragraph-length review of each book.
Tip: Many applicants have been out of school for a while. You don’t need to be an expert writer to attend seminary. Simply make sure that your writing is easy to read. There are many resources available to double-check spelling and ensure the appropriate use of punctuation and grammar. (Spell check and Grammarly will be your friends in seminary!)
A spiritual autobiography
This autobiography will become part of a formation for ministry file that will be used to assess your growth during your seminary years. You will have the opportunity to reflect on and edit it at several points during your academic experience.
Your autobiography should be about six pages long, double-spaced, and encompassing the following categories. Instructions are included within the application form.
- Family and Faith of Origin
- Early Childhood/Early Adolescence
- Adult Life (post-high school)
- Include any intercultural experiences that have been formative
Tip: Thoughtful, reflective writing will allow your application to stand out. Be authentic and honest. What should we know about how your interest in seminary and ministry has developed? We will hold what you share with care and confidentiality.
4. Statement of Church Membership or summary of worship habits
Master of Divinity and Master of Arts applicants will submit a Statement of Church Membership, or if not a member, an email explaining current worship habits and church involvement.
A Statement of Church Membership is an email or document from your church office stating that you are a member in good standing.
A summary email explaining current worship habits and church involvement is from the applicant and is needed only if the applicant is not a member of a church at the time of application. Only one is needed.
Why is this important?
It helps us identify what scholarships you may be eligible for. Denominational or “affiliation” scholarships will require a statement of church membership or confirmation that the applicant is in the process of becoming a member.
Tip: Please call or email your admissions representative if you have any questions about your statement of church membership!
5. Letters of Recommendation
You will invite 2-4 individuals to provide a recommendation or reference as part of your application. This happens from within the application form. When prompted to request the references, enter the appropriate name, phone number, and email address. A form will then be sent directly to the recommender.
The form will include questions about your resilience, ethics, spiritual maturity, planning and organization, communication skills, and ability to work as part of a team. These questions are primarily multiple-choice with space to add helpful feedback. This takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.
Tip: Ask references for permission to submit their information prior to entering it into your application, Let them know when they might receive the link. (You can choose to have the form sent immediately or when you submit your application form.) If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact your admissions representative.
Ready to get started?