Graduation 2015 – Going to College?

  Jonathan Morrow’s most recent “thinkChristianly” email post Students Need A Real World Faith questions the preparedness of students who are getting ready to graduate and head to college. He states, “Unprecedented freedom is just around the corner…they can almost taste it! Soon they will packing up and heading off to college–away from mom, dad, their youth pastor, church, and many of their friends. Are they ready?”

Morrow offers “around 50% of them will disengage from their Christian faith during their college years. But, (he also says) they can be prepared – or at least have a fighting chance!”

A great graduation present would be one or all of the following books targeted especially for students and parents of students who are headed to college.  This is something we can do to help in their preparedness whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or neighbor. Give these books; then, pray they will read them!

Three suggestions:
Turner, Matthew Paul. Everything You Need to Know Before College.CO: NavPress, 2006
A very practical “how to” book, well formatted to be an easy read and resource; a perfect gift for a high school student who is about to embark on their journey to college and has lots of questions. This is a survival guide to opportunities, challenges and potential pitfalls of college life such as: being on your own for the first time; adapting to different personalities/dorm life; dating smart in a no-rules environment; finding crucial friendships and Christian support; making the most of your money.

Turner shares insights with bold honesty in a fun, colloquial style students will relate to. I would say it is a must read…and they might like to give it to their friends!   

Budziszewski,J. How to Stay Christian in College. Colorado Springs. CO: NavPress, 2014.
Written for students headed to college, students who are already there and for parents of either of these groups. A professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas tells of his own journey back to faith giving practical, helpful tips in critical categories: worldviews, how to deal with questions, lifestyle conflicts. He has a section on campus myths: myths about search for knowledge, love and sex, politics. He offers wisdom on how to cope with social life, religious life and the classroom – holding your own without being a jerk, finding intellectual supporters and mentors. He discusses how to fit Christ into your life and your life into Christ.

Oh, how I wish I had this book when I was a student at the University of Texas.

Morrow, Jonathan.  Welcome To College, A Christ’s Follower’s Guide For The Journey. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2008.
Written to prepare students living in a post-Christian culture for how to follow Jesus and flourish as His disciple in college. Morrow’s considerable experience interacting with students prepared him to equip students for what they will encounter. He tackles questions like: how do you grow spiritually? How do you share your faith in a hostile environment? How do you manage your time so that you can study and have fun? Is all truth relative? Are there good reasons to be a Christian? What about alcohol? As a Christian, how should you view issues like dating and sex? Grounded in biblical truth he writes quick easy-to-read chapters 3-5 pages each, 41 topics summarized into a key idea and a handy list of resources.

 Personally I think all three of these books together make a great graduation gift giving your graduate the edge they need to be prepared. 

Also, consider taking advantage of Think Christianly – Jonathan Morrow’s website and daily emails and podcasts.  [email protected]


Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.