Suggestions from Current Students & Alumni

We asked current Candler students and alumni what they wish they'd known when they arrived at Candler. We've compiled their helpful wisdom and suggestions here for incoming students. Enjoy! 

Candler School of Theology building

Candler School of Theology building

on campus

Students had the following pieces of advice for navigating life on and around campus:

"The Clairmont campus SAAC (Student Activity & Academic Center) pool and facilities are awesome but often no one knows about them until third year. Same with the Lullwater Preserve Area."

"There are printers by the elevators on the second and third floors in RARB (Rita Anne Rollins Building)."

"Take advantage of activities like prayer practices and mindful meals offered by the OSP (Office of Student Programming). These are a great way to pause during a busy day and refocus yourself."

"Go to the Pitts Library weekly workshops. The librarians are super helpful and can help you navigate software you may be unfamiliar with, like Zotero. And in general, use the librarians! They are great at answering questions and helping out with research projects."

"Make sure you sign up for Candler events by the deadline, if required. You can often get free food, but only if you sign up."

"I wish somebody would have told me about buying discounted parking passes and that you don't have to pay $12 to park as a commuter." (More info on parking can be found here.)

"Find an apartment on the Emory bus lines."

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Wondering how to get the most out of your classes? Students had the following tips regarding classes and studying.

"Languages open doors. When I applied for the exchange program between Candler and the Georg-August Universitat Gottingen in Germany I asked Lewis Ayres to write me a recommendation. He said something to me that has proven 100% true: "Never underestimate the value of learning another language well, even if it's German." Who knew that when I came back doors would open for me to become the pastor of First German United Methodist Church in Glendale, CA? Learn German, or Greek, or Hebrew. Learn to think from another language's perspective. It will keep you humble, adaptable, and multidimensional. In other words, it will equip you to hand the church, the Bible, and above all the gospel on to new generations growing up in the most globalized culture that has ever existed on planet earth."

"For MTS students specifically, because of your shorter time frame than the MDiv students: come in having researched what classes you want to take and which professors you are interested in working with so that you can begin to make connections with them early on. It'll make a world of difference at the end of the first year when you have to pick a thesis advisor."

"Take advantage of cross enrollment with other areas of the university!"

"Pay close attention to course requirements - there are more than you expect! Also, go to a couple of professors in addition to your advisor to get their take on your course selections."

"Take doctoral seminars if you want to read a book a week, have just a few classmates (nowhere to hide if you're unprepared), and write 20-30 pages with not much guidance. Be okay with getting your butt kicked and having a great learning experience."

"You don't have to do all of the readings!"

"Wait until you get the syllabus to get the books."



"MTS students: go to chapel and/or Evensong. Honestly, it didn't occur to me until I was over halfway through."

"Having not attended church for 30 years, I now attend chapel twice weekly. Best sermons! Outstanding music. Great fellowship. And, yo! We're in seminary. Let's actually pray together." 

"On the flip side, not all MTS students are spiritual, so if you're not, realize that's okay and there are surely other MTS students who aren't spiritual and don't really want to go to chapel can meet up and go to Slice & Pint together instead."

"If you're looking for a church we have a Sunday service right in Cannon Chapel at 11 am, followed by a FREE Emory-catered meal. YUMMY!"

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And more...

On coffee, self-care, buying books, and more:

"If you meet a fellow seminary student that doesn't drink coffee, don't trust them." ;)

""Me" time will make you a better student!"

"One of the best things I did at Candler was attend a silent retreat at Green Bough House of Prayer, offered for free to students through the Office of Student Programming. Highly recommended."

"Buy your textbooks on Amazon or another online site. You can often find used books for way cheaper than at the campus bookstore. You can also rent textbooks from Barnes & Noble on campus - and you can even write and highlight in them."

"If you don't have a car, ask for rides to hang out with people. Then, they have to hang out with you and you make more friends that way!"

"Take advantage of the Emory student health insurance if you have it. I had the best medical care at Emory."