The folks determining my craziness/sanity are the North Central Ministry Development Center. On their page for "Candidate Registration" are 8 required forms that need to be completed. That's just step 1. Once those are done, there are three personality inventories that need to be completed, one in person at the center in New Brighton (or with a proctor, like a pastor), and the other two online.* THEN, after ALL that is done, I'll have the real, three-hour, in-person psych evaluation.
* Their website says one online and two in-person, but the email I got had links to two online tests, so I don't really know.
Let's talk about how much time this has taken so far. Just to be clear, I'm not complaining about it, I'm documenting this in the hopes future seminarian hopefuls might find it useful.
But the other five forms. The first was short, biographical, who-are-you kind of stuff. The rest were beasts. For example, they asked "What persons, places, events, and/or experiences in your life have shaped your faith, and your decision to pursue a church vocation?"
Yeah, because that'll be a short answer. This was followed by two dozen more questions of near-equal breadth, such as "Describe your relationship with your father and your feelings about that relationship:" and then there are three boxes, for Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood.
My favorite question, though: "Estimation of time spent on this questionnaire". 2 hours.
Fortunately, the rest were shorter. Next up was "complete these sentences", with prompts like:
- "My greatest fear" (I answered "Failure. Being left alone. (these serious fears are followed by a more facetious list including: worms, dogs, and small children)"
- "I can't" ("read minds. I REALLY wish I could.")
- "When I was a child" ("I thought as a child, but in too many areas, I haven't given up my childish ways. Maybe my inner child is a good thing, though.")
Next up, medical form, easy, done. Then. Another hard one. List 25 accomplishments. I thought that would be easy, but one of my weaknesses (and I've known this for a long time) is coming up with examples on the spot. So, think of 25 things I've done? Uhhh... I've done... stuff...?
I ended up including a lot of work-related stuff, and probably not enough ministry-related feats. Then I had to write about my top 5 accomplishments. Example:
SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT: Developed an online back-to-school forms database for my school where I work; this was and remains a huge deal.Lastly on that form I needed to list my personal skills, strengths, and areas for growth, based on these accomplishments. The whole form probably took another hour. I couldn't resist, as my 25th accomplishment, I listed "Completed the last of these psych veal forms :)"
My school where I work used to send out a ridiculously large packet of back to school papers to parents over the summer. Not only was this expensive, but there was no way to track who was missing a form, who hadn't turned in any forms at all, and no easy reporting mechanism to collect all the data. Many of the offices needed to re-type the data into their own spreadsheets, which is prone to all sorts of human error.
I came along and said 'we can do this better, we can do it online, and I know I can code it.' It was a very very stressful summer, and gosh I learned so much about dealing with users, both the parents who filled out the online forms, but mostly the nurses and principals and deans who used the information on the back end. Lots of meetings went by, and eventually I had a finished product.
Over the years since, this online registration system has completely changed the way we operate. We now do class registration, summer school registration, all sorts of medical and volunteer forms, etc, all online through the system that I built. And I provide several dozen custom reports for departments all over the school. It's pretty awesome. For me to impress even myself is significant. This is one of those achievements.
With all that finally done, this morning I called and scheduled my in-person inventory, and got a slot for tomorrow. They also emailed me links to the two online inventories that I need to do, so I started on those tonight. The first one was a Strong's Interest Inventory, consisting of about 300 questions on how well I like certain activities, how much I'd desire particular careers (regardless of current ability), etc. It was lengthy, but [relatively] quick.
Next up are 325 questions for something called a "PEPQ", which according to Google stands for "PsychEval Personality Questionnaire". These appear to be eye-doctor questions, because you're supposed to choose an either/or answer (there is a middle answer labeled "?", but the directions discourage using it). Here we go. Get 'er dun!