This isn’t an essay about how to stay Christian in college. These are just a couple of thoughts I’ve had today while looking back over our family’s history and realizing that some basic church activities can help prepare a young adult for the academic end of college. Even just learning to sit still and pay attention to a pastoral message trains a child in a great academic skill for any incoming Freshman.
Our children usually attended the main adult service every week in addition to various youth activities. During the service, everyone in our family had a small spiral notebook and we all took notes throughout the pastor’s sermon. After church, we’d sometimes review our notes to see if we got different things from the message, but mainly our notebooks were just for our own use. A record of our spiritual growth and teachings we’d received.
By getting into the habit of taking written notes when someone was imparting information, our children were in the habit and well-experienced at notetaking by the time they began their college studies. They knew what things to write down, they knew how to identify key points, and they knew to record their own thoughts and feelings while listening.
As someone who returned to college later in life, I can attest to the fact that notetaking is a lost skill for most college and university students. Even in my Master’s program, it was only about half the students in our cohort who took notes regularly. Developing the habit of taking notes from oral presentations (ie: pastor’s sermons) will prepare your child for the important skill of notetaking in the classroom.
Learning to read and study the Bible in depth can help to prepare young college students for reading their textbooks and other academic literature. As they reached their teens, my children attended adult Bible studies with me. If you decide to include your teen in your Bible study, be sure to ask the study leader if teens are allowed so you don’t have any rude surprises when you show up with your teen. I know this one from experience.
I found that most teen and youth Bible studies were dumbed down (twaddle) to the point where my children, who had great interest in studying the Bible, just found it boring and pointless. Our church at the time offered a co-ed Precept study group which allowed teens, so that’s the one we attended. Not only was it good experience for studying, it also provided a classroom-style instruction time which was helpful for preparing for that first quarter of college.
My children had never been in a classroom setting before starting higher education, but I believe their time in unofficial school-style settings like Bible studies and church services (lectures) helped prepare them for success in that area. There was an adjustment period, but it only lasted for a brief time.
If your family attends church and your children are college-bound, don’t miss out on these simple opportunities to further prepare your children for college.