There have been a host of books written in the last few years to help Christian youth make a successful transition from high school to college and beyond (see those written by Budziszewski, Chediak, Morrow). Most of these books attempt to be a one-stop shop for every question or need that the college years create. From how to do laundry for the first time, to how to study, to how to find good Christian friends, to how to answer tough questions about the faith, these books have proven useful resources for many college and college-bound students.
But I wonder if these books actually get read by people who won’t pick up a book unless it will be on a test. Derek Melleby, the director of the College Transition Initiative (a ministry of CPYU: the Center For Parent/Youth Understanding), has written a different book called Make College Count. Short (a 5×7 inch book just over 100 pages) and to the point, he has a different purpose in mind. Melleby wants prospective college students to actually read his book and begin to think for themselves by asking and answering the big questions that arise during the first years away from home. His seven big questions are:
- What kind of person do you want to become?
- Why are you going to college?
- What do you believe?
- Who are you?
- With whom will you surround yourself?
- How will you choose a major?
- How do you want your life to influence others?
Each of these questions must be answered by every college student (Christian or not). If they don’t, then Melleby argues that others will answer them for them.
Melleby’s books asks these foundational life questions from a Christian perspective. Believers ought to consider these questions for themselves with these thoughts in mind.
- How will I follow Jesus during the critical years?
- How will I find my place in God’s story?
- How will I take ownership of my faith?
- How will I secure my identity in Christ?
- How will I connect with Christian community?
- How will I put my faith into action?
- How will I leave a legacy of faithfulness?
Each chapter offers interviews revealing how particular college students answer these types of questions, and what they’ve learned about living for Christ in their college environment. Some struggled more than others to answer these questions, to live them out in their own context, and to thrive in the midst of faith challenges. At the end of every chapter, Melleby gives three more specific questions designed to start conversation and reflection on how to make the most of college. As the subtitle suggests, it is a faithful guide to life and learning. And it will most likely be read by its intended audience.