Blog | Topic: Seminars

The College Choice Seminar Recap

BlogOn Saturday, the College Transition Initiative launched a new seminar to help families with college planning. We gathered at the Shady Maple Banquet Center in Lancaster County, PA. I presented a biblical vision for college and my good friends Terry Evearitt and Matt Reitnour shared from their expertise in college financing and college admission. We have received positive feedback from those who attended. Judging from the amount of emails I’ve received from across the country desiring more information about the seminar, this topic is on the minds of many people.

Unfortunately, the seminar was not recorded. We are still trying to figure out the best way to make this information available to a wider audience. We are considering a webinar as well as thinking through other locations to host an event. Please contact me if you have any suggestions or questions about making this seminar available in your area.

To recap, here are a few big takeaways from the seminar:

First, the admissions process is changing, and changing fast. The economic climate in which we live has many people questioning the value and worth of a college degree; colleges and universities are becoming more and more expensive each year; and there are more and more ways to obtain a college degree. Now, more than ever, we need to seek out a variety of wise counselors and college options to make a wise decision.

Second, debt is a major problem facing students today and we need to take it seriously… BUT, debt should not be our only concern when making a college choice. College is about more than getting a degree to get a job (although that is certainly an important aspect to consider). College is also about character and spiritual formation. There is a financial cost to college, for sure, but there are other costs to consider as well. What kind of person do you want to be? With whom will you surround yourself during these formative years? How should we, as Christians, define success? Taking these questions into account should help us to re-frame the “college choice” conversation and help us to think “Christianly” about life after high school.

PanelThird, we can’t be afraid to envision different college scenarios as legitimate next steps for high school grads. We can’t get too locked in to thinking that every student must go to a residential college, to obtain a bachelor’s degree, immediately after high school. For some students, this is still a wise life path. For others, especially those with financial concerns and/or confusion about where to go or what to study, other options are available. All of the speakers discussed the benefits of taking time off before going to college, exploring community college and trade school options, and considering an intentional gap year program.

Most importantly, we were reminded of the value of communication. Every student and every family needs to create space to have more meaningful conversations about life after high school. My hope and prayer is that the College Choice Seminar was used to that end.

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Houston, We Have a College Planning Problem

College Choice - CTI HomepageCPYU’s College Transition Initiative began in 2005. For the last eight years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to groups of students and parents about how to be prepared for and make the most of life after high school. Recently, I’ve noticed a shift in the way families talk about higher education. Here’s a story that captures what I mean…

A few years ago I was speaking in Houston, TX. During one of the breaks a father and his son hurried over to talk to me. The dad stood behind his son, his hands on his son’s shoulders and his plea went something like this:

Please tell me what to do with my son. We don’t have a clue. Everything has changed! When I was growing up, this is how it worked. I grew up in California. During my junior year of high school, the guidance counselor took the initiative and told me, based on my interests and academic ability, that I should consider a career in engineering. I went to a state university, for free, got a degree in engineering and I’ve been an engineer at the same company for over 25 years. Now my son is entering the college admission’s process and it seems so confusing! He doesn’t know what to study or where to go. He’s has received very little help from his school. We receive mail from colleges every day. We really don’t know how we can afford it. Make sense of it for me!”

He smiled after the last sentence. He knew I couldn’t possibly provide all of the information he needed during a five minute break. But this conversation has stuck with me. Since that day, I’ve wanted to provide a seminar for students and parents to help them “make sense” of the college planning and admission’s process.

The times have changed… Think about this father’s story: A guidance counselor knew him well enough to help him in the process. He went to college FOR FREE! He got a job in his field shortly after he graduated. He has been working for the same company for over 25 years.

This scenario is no longer the norm. But the other parts of his story are now very common: His son isn’t sure what he wants to study, where he wants to go and the father has no idea how to pay for college! Sound familiar?

Countless conversations like this one has been the motivation behind the new seminar “The College Choice: Faith, Family & Finances” being held in Lancaster, PA on October 12.

The seminar has three goals… Participants will gain:

A biblical vision for making the most of these years

A clearer understanding of the cost/value of college

A wise approach to the college admission’s process

This seminar is for students, parents, educators and youth workers looking for resources for making better decisions about life after high school. The seminar will be beneficial whether you are early (parents of middle schoolers) or late (parents of high school seniors) in the college planning process. I hope to see you there!

Click here to learn more about the seminar.

Click here to register.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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