Private, Christian college in South Carolina

Located in South Carolina, Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community dedicated to transforming lives.

Professors provide one-on-one mentoring outside the classroom at Southern Wesleyan University

The faith-filled community at SWU is comprised of students, faculty and staff who are passionate about learning and growing, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Eclipse Over SWU - August 21, 2017

Whether you come for a campus visit, fine arts program, or athletic event, SWU seeks to provide educational and cultural opportunities not just to our campus community but to the greater community around us.

OneLife Christian Gap Year Program

OneLife is a Christian gap year program for students who want to grow in their faith, experience genuine community, serve others, and travel while earning college credits.

Providing growth in faith, leadership & life skills

While your friends may take the traditional college path, you imagine something different.

Opportunities to lead, to inspire, to be challenged, to visit new places and experience a new way of learning, to share your faith, and to become a stronger and more well-rounded person.

Become a part of the OneLife Institute, a Christian gap year program that is a different type of educational experience. Students like you can earn 24 college credits while stepping outside of the classroom and into a 9-month experience that is invaluable and effective, starting you off on the right path.

OneLife is a step between home & independence, preparing young adults to make a difference wherever their path may lead.

$500 Scholarships Available for OneLife at SWU

Every student that is admitted and deposited by the end of June will receive a $500 scholarship!
Space is limited. Apply today!

Interested to Learn More?

 


 

Ready to Apply?

Space is limited. Act now! Be one of the few to join us on next year’s journey.

OneLife Admission Process

1Submit the online application

2Submit supplemental information

3Interview with OneLife staff

Apply online today

Does this sound like the place for you? The process begins with your online application. Let us guide you through the admissions process.

Please select which type of student you will be in Fall 2017 to fill out your appropriate application.


First-Time Freshman - A high school senior or graduate attending college or gap year program for your first time.

FIRST-TIME FRESHMAN


College Transfer - A student who is currently or has previously enrolled at another college.

COLLEGE TRANSFER

 


 

Accepted OneLife Students

Congratulations! We are thrilled that you are joining the OneLife and SWU family, and we’re excited to see what God has in store for you. Now that you’re admitted, it’s time to explore your next steps so you’ll be prepared and excited when you join campus this fall.

Let's get started!

"Through my experience at OneLife I have gained the vision for my life that was previously lacking. I now understand that I am wired to bring out the best in other people through my relational and leadership skills." — Sabrina, OneLife 2014

Imagine...

Your Education

Earn 24 credits for college, while learning, traveling and serving, during our 9-month program. Develop quality, real-world skills that will prove to be valuable throughout your life.

Community

Counter the numbness you may feel with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by actually experiencing life, traveling the world with a group of committed peers, and developing genuine life-long friendships.

Life Skills

Learn how to lead a successful life by applying practical life skills including time management, fitness & wellness, and financial stewardship.

Travel & Adventure

Discover who you are called to be while experiencing new places and meeting inspiring people, traveling domestically and internationally. Instead of discussing life in a traditional classroom – you can experience it.

Spiritual Formation

Who are you—really? What are you seeking? Before thinking about where you are going, we invite you to examine who you are becoming in Christ.

"I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life and I knew OneLife would help direct me towards what God wanted me to do with my life. Traveling, serving, and having fun while earning credits? That’s a no brainer!"

 

— Tim, OneLife 2014

 

 

OneLife Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “gap year” and why should I take one?

A gap year is defined as taking a “break” from formal education, “typically between high school and college, in order to deepen practical, professional, and personal awareness.”

For Christian students, taking a gap year before going to college creates a remarkable opportunity to think more deeply and intentionally about the person God is calling him or her to be. Many students who struggle in college do so because they are not able to articulate reasons or explain goals for going to college. College has become the assumed next step after high school, with very little thought about why.

OneLife exists because we believe that taking a gap year forces students out of the routine of “schooling” and into a deeper relationship with God. Students who participate in gap year programs have proven to be far more prepared for the transition to college and adulthood.

What is the main focus (outcomes) of the OneLife gap year program?

OneLife is a nine month, residential program with four desired outcomes.

OneLife students:

  1. Form Christian character
  2. Develop a biblical worldview
  3. Increase emotional intelligence
  4. Acquire life skills
What is OneLife looking for in a student?

Here is the OneLife student profile:

  • Post high-school to 21 years of age
  • Loves travel and adventure
  • Appreciates learning both inside and outside the classroom
  • Desires to learn and grow in Christian faith & biblical knowledge
  • Demonstrates leadership qualities
  • Expresses a desire to be teachable
  • Exhibits moral character and conduct
  • Maintains a positive attitude toward authority
I already did a year (or two) of college. Can I still do OneLife?

YES! Many of our students have completed some college before coming to OneLife. For those students, OneLife can be an opportunity to re-focus, to gain more direction in life and to take a “break” in order to build a stronger relationship with God.

How much does OneLife cost?

Enrollment in OneLife costs $21,900 per year (2017-2018 academic year). This covers tuition, books, room and board, and all travel expenses. An initial tuition deposit of $300 will be applied toward the total $21,900. A housing security deposit of $225 is also required. There are no additional fees. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. Please contact us regarding financial aid and all financial concerns.

Does OneLife offer financial aid?

YES! OneLife students are enrolled as full-time college students and are eligible for government and private scholarships that are awarded based on eligibility requirements.

To apply for federal financial aid go to www.fafsa.gov and click “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” (FAFSA). Please add “Southern Wesleyan University” (School code: 003422). For more information on the federal student aid programs including eligibility requirements and federal aid programs please visit www.studentaid.ed.gov.

How do OneLife students earn college credits?

OneLife is fully accredited, both regionally & nationally, due to its partnership with Southern Wesleyan University. OneLife students complete 8, three credit courses, for 24 credits. Learn more about SWU's accreditation.

What courses do OneLife students take?

OneLife is proud to partner with Southern Wesleyan University to offer the following courses:

  • Foundations for Success
  • Introduction to Intercultural Studies
  • New Testament Survey or Old Testament Survey
  • Science of Personal Training
  • Life Calling
  • Speech Communication
  • Personal Finance
  • Global Internship (outside of USA)
Will my credits transfer to other colleges?

Short answer: YES!
Longer answer: All OneLife students will have an official transcript from Southern Wesleyan University with 24 credits (8 courses). All credits are transferable. All of the credits, however, may not apply to certain programs at other colleges.

How do I become a OneLife student? What is the admissions process?

Here is what you will need to complete to be considered for acceptance:

  1. Online Application (choose freshman or transfer student)
  2. Spiritual Autobiography
  3. OneLife Questionnaire
  4. Pastoral Reference
  5. High School Transcript
  6. SAT or ACT scores
  7. Interview with OneLife staff

The online application for admission will provide an opportunity to complete steps 1–4. Your assigned enrollment counselor will assist you with 5–7.

Where do students travel?

OneLife loves to travel. Our trips allow students to (1) see what God is doing in other parts of His world; (2) connect to the larger body of Christ; (3) develop travel and navigational skills; and (4) engage cultural differences and other worldviews.

Students experience lots of day trips and weekend service opportunities. They also take 5-7 longer trips during the year. Destinations have included:

Domestic:

  • Appalachian Trail, Maryland
  • Arizona, Grand Canyon
  • Dunbar, Wisconsin, snowmobiling
  • Grand Rapids & Detroit, Michigan
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • New York City, NY
  • North Georgia, Rock Climbing & Caving
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Washington D.C.

International:

  • England
  • Italy
  • Israel
OneLife sounds amazing. I’d love to take a “gap year” and travel overseas and have fun, but I’m 55 years old and have a family. Can I still do OneLife?

No. Sorry. (We get this question all the time.)

Is OneLife too good to be true?

No. If you can’t believe that OneLife could possibly be as amazing as it sounds, please contact us or visit us ASAP. We would love the opportunity to show and tell you all about it!

Meet the OneLife Site Director at SWU

Matthew Hunter, Ph.D.

Matt in his own words:

I grew up on a horse farm in upstate New York and I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember; although there have been (and continue to be) profound moments of God’s transforming work in my life. I majored in Christian ministries in college and worked in Urban and Suburban Youth and College Ministry for 5 years before I started my PhD in Religious Studies – completed in 2010. I’m married to my best friend Beth and we have two amazing sons (Asher – 12, Zephan – 10). Right now we live in the city of Harrisburg, PA where I’ve been teaching 10th-12th grade Humanities Courses at a classical Christian school.

I love teaching, but more than that, I love connecting with my students about the things that matter. I’ve been teaching college and high school classes since 2008, including: World Religions; Happiness in Christian Tradition and Popular Culture; Intro to Islam; Intro to Judaism; Intro to Media Studies; Intro to Theology; African American Theology; Religious Freedom in the US: A Developing Legacy; Apologetics; Reformation History; Reading the Bible for the First Time; Social Justice Conflict and Peacemaking; U.S. History & Literature.

In my spare time, I like to cook, lift weights, practice kung fu with my kids, go on hikes, read, watch movies, drink coffee and think out loud with anyone who is willing to do that with me. I always need the Holy Spirit. I am committed to the whole body of Christ. I love the Bible (most of the time) and it continually stuns me with God’s wisdom and the magnificent, tragic and hope-filled true-story of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

 

Education

Ph.D. in Religious Studies
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Graduate work in MDiv.
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA

Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry
Messiah College, Grantham, PA

Teaching Experience

Humanities Instructor (2012-2017)
Covenant Christian Academy, Harrisburg, PA

Adjunct Professor (2008-2017)
Messiah College, Grantham, PA

Instructor, Graduate Teaching Fellow (2002-2007)
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Educational Leadership and Ministry Experience

National and International Service and Learning Director
Agape Center for Service and Learning, Messiah College, Grantham, PA
August 2007 - July 2010

Director of College Ministries
Wayne Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Wayne, PA August 2000 - August 2002

Youth Ministry Field Staff
Urban Discovery Ministries and Urban Young Life, Norfolk, VA
May 1997 - July 2000