“More can be done to encourage those teens who do want to examine the purpose or direction of their lives by engaging them at deeper levels before the first year out of high school.”
This was sociologist Timothy Clydesdale’s challenge to clergy in his important book The First Year Out: Understanding American Teens After High School. It is also the perfect way to describe the motivation behind the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding’s (CPYU) College Transition Initiative (CTI). “More can be done…”
Here are the words of CPYU’s President, Dr. Walt Mueller:
“CTI grew out of CPYU’s desire to help students make the most of their college years. Sadly, many of the stories I was hearing supported research indicating that high school students were not transitioning well to college. Many of those students were facing problems and issues that could have been avoided if they and their parents had taken time to be more prepared.”
The mission of CTI is to provide resources for students, parents, church leaders and educators to help students be more spiritually prepared for life after high school. Resources include seminars, books, articles, expert interviews, conferences and events, and a regularly updated blog. All of these resources are an attempt to create opportunities for students and parents to have more meaningful conversations about life after high school.
CTI’s resources cannot prepare students completely for college, of course. They can, however, help to paint a realistic picture of the cultural landscape ahead. They can offer advice to students from people that have gone before them about how to navigate deliberately and faithfully in such a setting. The resources can also start better conversations, enabling parents and students to begin to ask the right questions before setting off on the journey.
In his very influential book The Fabric of Faithfulness, Dr. Steven Garber reminds readers what’s at stake:
“For those whose pathway leads them into the world of the university, decisions are made during that time that are determinative for the rest of life. In the modern world, the years between eighteen and twenty-five are a time for the settling of one’s convictions about meaning and morality: why do I get up in the morning? What do I do after I get up in the morning? One then settles into life with those convictions as the shaping presuppositions and principles of one’s entire life.”
Dr. Garber is correct. The college years are developmentally critical for a healthy and successful adulthood. This is a very important time in a young person’s life and because students are often unprepared for the increasing tide of pressures they will face, CTI is committed to helping students and parents transition smoothly to the “world of the university.”