You have been preparing for this day for the past 18 years, and now suddenly—just like that—it’s here. You’re taking part in the tradition of fall, packing up your child’s room, loading the car to the brim with plastic bins full of clothes and shoes—and all the snacks for the new mini fridge. It’s time to let go, say goodbye, and trust them to study hard and make good decisions.
We understand what you’re feeling. We have built a safe campus where your child can thrive, learn, grow in Christ, and make new friends. We want them to live the next four years beyond belief. Here’s a few helpful tips for your student at this moment—excerpted from a 2016 Washington Post article by Jeffrey Selingo: “Dropping Your Kids Off at College? Here’s the Best Advice to Give Them.”
1. Engage with faculty.
Just 32 percent of freshmen in the annual National Survey of Student Engagement said they discussed ideas or concepts with a faculty member outside of class. Three-fifths of freshmen in the same survey said they never worked with professors on activities other than coursework. Researchers have found that getting to know at least one faculty member well in the first year of college improves the chances that students will get more from their undergraduate experience (including a degree).
2. Start early with hands-on experiences.
A 2014 Gallup survey of more than 30,000 college graduates found that those who had had an internship or job that allowed them to apply what they were learning were twice as likely to be engaged in their life and work. The problem is that just one in three graduates said they had internships or similar hands-on learning experiences in college.
3. Explore the course catalog.
At the same time, the focus on securing multiple internships and graduating within four years has left students with very little time in college to explore their passions. To make the most of their undergraduate years and prepare for the job market after college, students should take courses that challenge them to work hard (especially those with extensive reading and writing requirements), present them with opportunities to learn from the best professors, and give them a broad foundation across multiple subjects, not just the one within their major. The job market is expanding and contracting at an alarming pace, and even the supposed hot majors of today will not necessarily guarantee jobs four years from now.
4. Network with peers.
Some of the most important learning that happens in college comes from peers, so students want to be surrounded by people who give them different perspectives on life and careers. Recent graduates…often said their best leads for internships and jobs came from their classmates or students a year or two ahead of them. That is perhaps the greatest value of an undergraduate residential college.