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Help Students Transition to College by Hosting a Panel Discussion

chairsThis past weekend I presented the College Transition Seminar for the Black Rock Church in Fairfield, CT. Over lunch, the seminar also featured a panel discussion with current college students. Parents and students had the opportunity to ask “real live” college students about the struggles and successes they had transitioning to the next chapter of their life story. The conversation was rich. Not only did the parents and high school students gain much wisdom from what they heard, but the college students greatly benefitted from telling their stories as well.

It got me thinking… a college student panel is a simple thing to do and it can make a big difference in the lives of soon-to-be college students! It doesn’t even require much prep work. Ask college students you know if they would be interested in sitting on a panel. If they say “yes” they probably have something they would like to share! And then ask simple questions to get the conversation started, like:

How did you decide on the college you chose?

Was it difficult to find Christian community on campus?

What surprised you the most when transitioning to college?

If you could do the transition over again, what would you do differently?

What advice would offer to high school students who are nervous about the transition?

In between each question, open it up to the parents and students to ask follow-up questions. It’s also a good idea to pass around 3×5 cards beforehand, in case people are more comfortable writing their question instead of asking it in front of others.

Students need a vision for what it looks like to have a successful transition to college. Hearing from current college students can help them gain a vision for what their transition could and should look like.

Related Resources:

Article: “Finding Community in College: 5 Ways to Help Students Connect” (.pdf)

Article: “Conversations for the College Bound: 10 Talks to Have Before Arriving on Campus” (.pdf)

Book: Make College Count: A Faithful Guide to Life and Learning

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