Somehow, I was roped into a conversation with a high schooler about college after church. This young lady was thinking of going to school to study journalism, and I was asked about everything from scholarships to advice about senior year. It had been a while since I’d talked to anyone about college prep, and I’m not sure how effective I was at getting across all I wanted to say to her. The thing that struck me most, aside from her eagerness, was how things never seem to change.
Teenagers are still being left to figure out the major life decision that is the college preparatory process by themselves. Counselors are harrassed and overworked, turned pessimistic by years of dealing with students who really don’t care to further their education. They are tired of pushing, and now you have to seek them out and stay on top of them. Parents that haven’t been through the process often have no idea what their child should be doing at what stage and are busy working to provide the necessities of life for their families. Many colleges are more interested in enrollment and prestige than in whether a student will be the right fit for the institution, and vice versa. Students themselves get hooked on name recognition, the athletics program, where their friends are going, and what sounds good. It’s all a matter of sheer dumb luck that some of us ever find the right institution for us that causes us to be in the least amount of debt and provides us the best opportunities to be prepared for the future.
In speaking to her, my desire to be involved was reignited. Having gone through the process of finding a school and attending college, and making a myriad of mistakes along the way, yet not being so far removed from the process, I don’t remember the feelings of uncertainty or confusion, I think I’m in a unique position in my congregation to provide our teenagers with some useful information before it’s too late to position themselves for the future that lies ahead of them.
I’m sitting here now having verbally committed myself to developing and presenting a talk on college preparation to the teenagers of the congregation. I’ve begun talking to the leadership about it and I’m excited. I’ve wanted to get our congregation involved with the local colleges for some time, but the initiatives that are before the church at present are a large undertaking in and of themselves. By developing the college preparatory seminar or talk, I can at least prepare our teenagers for college. They can go to campus and be a light to their fellow students, setting the foundation for a possible college ministry. At least, that’s the way I’m choosing to look at it.
I’m praying that I can present them with things that they can use and help them to have an easier transition to college, and later, the “real world” than I had. Your prayers for this endeavour of mine would be most appreciated.
I know this is not my usual subject matter, but if you have something to add, or want to to give your two cents, feel free. This falls under the relationship to your community to me. Happy and successful people have a focus bigger than themselves. For now, this is my focus.
- Information about College Prep (brighthub.com)
- Guidance Counselor | Applications: The Almighty Essay (nytimes.com)
- Chicago Charter School in the Top Ten Again (prnewswire.com)