Conversation: G. Robert Cook Jr.
The foundation of a lifetime
G. Robert Cook Jr., 57, is the executive vice president of
the Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education, which serves as a resource
to each of the AG’s 19 institutions of higher education. Recently, Cook spoke
with Managing Editor Kirk Noonan.
tpe: A lot of parents get sticker shock when they learn how
much a private college education costs. What advice would you give parents?
COOK: We discourage parents from simply looking at the costs
of attending an AG college or university without first checking what kind of
financial aid is available. There are many scholarships, loans and grants
available for qualifying families. But families have to be aggressive when it
comes to finding ways to reduce the cost of college.
tpe: Can students still go it alone and work their way
through college without any debt?
COOK: Anything is possible, but for most students those days
are gone. Twenty-five years ago students who worked a full-time job during the
school year and worked a summer job could almost pay completely for their
college education if they scrimped and saved. But today, most students need at
least a small scholarship or loan to earn their college degrees.
tpe: This special edition is about myths surrounding the
AG’s institutions of higher education. What’s a myth you think high school
seniors may hold regarding AG colleges?
COOK: That our AG colleges and universities don’t have the
majors or academic standards and rigors one would need to thrive in the
marketplace. If students give our schools a good look, they’ll see that at
least one of our 19 institutions will have a major or area of study they are
interested in. Plus, we have excellent and well-qualified faculties at each of
tpe: Historically, AG colleges have had a very good student-to-professor
ratio. Is that still the case?
COOK: Absolutely! We have smaller class sizes, and most
classes are taught by actual professors instead of graduate assistants. That’s
not always the case at larger universities. But even more important is the fact
our professors care deeply about each student’s studies, spiritual growth and
life. Countless students have found that their professors quickly become
spiritual mentors and examples.
tpe: What are some ways students are spiritually mentored on
COOK: Chapel is a required part of every AG school. It’s a
great time for students to worship together and be exposed to Christian leaders
who will challenge them to new levels of spirituality.
Students can also be involved in ministries where they can
reach out to their communities with compassion and love. Our schools encourage
our students to embrace education inside and outside the classroom.
tpe: What should parents do if their children are
considering an AG college?
COOK: Go visit the school’s campus as soon as possible. Go
to a chapel, walk through the dorms, and talk to the faculty and students. AG
colleges and universities are located throughout the United States. Visit one
and you’ll be impressed.
tpe: If you had a minute with a student who was thinking
about attending an AG college, what would you say?
COOK: Regardless of what gifts you have, we believe there is
a place for you at one of our AG colleges or universities. If you have a call
on your life to pastoral or missionary ministry, our colleges are the perfect
place to get prepared for that. They’re also the perfect place if you plan to
work in the marketplace. Other schools can teach you how to make a living, but
we can show you how to do that and live a godly life. Every one of our schools
offers an unparalleled foundation for your life and career.
For more information visit www.colleges.ag.org.
TPExtra: Podcast with Robert Cook
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