College Life: What the Class of ’16 Could Expect

Posted: January 13, 2012 in Faith/Christianity, Parents & Families, Youth Culture & Trends
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I’ve heard so many stats and observations on college life over the years, and it’s hard to cipher though what is reality, and what is panic.  There’s no question that today’s students are often ill-equipped when they enter the university/college campus,and that their faith can take a back seat.   But I also question whether its really the college atmosphere that causes students to abandon their faith, or if that decision was made much earlier than when they signed on in the registrar’s office.

But David Smith’s article, The New College Campus Life, is a good (although not ground-breaking) glimpse into what youth, and parents, can prepare ahead for graduation day & beyond.  One thing to note is that the current sexual activity stats in the states are slightly higher than those (at least recorded) in Canada.  But the ‘general rule-of-thumb’ is that whatever the stats say in the US, Canadian stats are usually within 10% give-or-take.  You can also check out some research findings that FYI put together for their Sticky Faith College Transition Project, as well as their fall press release of what went into, and came out of, their study.

From my experience in working with high school students, the key to living out their faith post-secondary school remains vitally attached to the faith atmosphere that is lived out at home with family.  Simply put, if dad and/or mom are not allowing the gospel to affect and influence their lives in a consistent manner, then it should go as no surprise if their kids check out of their faith early.  Yes the college life offers experiences that generally go beyond what most students have been subjected to, but it’s the pre-college preparation in their faith and life formation that is the big determining factor.  Hopefully this will be an encouragement to students, parents and leaders emphasizing the importance of investing the time and energy our youth need in character building and faith formation long before they write those college entrance exams.

So while many students do end up graduating from their Christian faith when they graduate high school, we might be blaming  the wrong influence.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to track down any extensive Canadian statistics re: how the college transition affects student’s faith (it very well be out there, but I haven’t seen it yet).  If you know of any, please let us know and share the wealth!

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