This is a guest post by Alex Chediak, professor at California Baptist University and author of the recently released book, Preparing Your Teens For College.
Why would I write a book on preparing teens for college? Because while the link between higher education and professional success has never been stronger, and college has never been more expensive, too many of our children are starting but never finishing. About 45 percent of those who begin at a four-year college haven’t completed their degree in six years. And about 70 percent of those who start two-year degrees will not finish them within three years. Meanwhile, among those who do graduate, about 70 percent take out loans, with an average amount of about $30,000 per borrower. And then they enter a harsh job market, one in which 25-32 year olds are more likely to be unemployed and make less money than any previous generation going back 50 years.
We have little control over the global economy, but we have tremendous influence in the training of our children. We can help them prepare to make the most of their college years (whether that means a four-year, two-year, or trade school program). Academic and professional success flow from character and maturity. And character and maturity flow from a God-mastered life, from the heart of a person who has bowed their knee to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Preparing Your Teens for College is about getting teens ready to leave the home and enter the adult world with the faith, character and maturity to be successful. It’s about training them not just for college but for the totality of their lives. The book is broken up into six sections: Character, Faith, Relationships, Finances, Academics and the College Decision itself. I talk about training teens to take initiative, accept correction, delay gratification and be firm in their Christian convictions while gracious towards those with other beliefs. I write about the importance of discernment in their choice of friends and the necessity of establishing faith-sustaining relationships. There’s a chapter about purity and intentionality with the opposite sex. I discuss how to help teens manage their money so that they avoid consumer debt and minimize any student loan balance. There are several chapters on teaching teens to study unto the Lord and use their high school years to discover and nurture their academic talents and interests. This helps them make an informed decision on whether to pursue a four-year college, two-year school, or some other kind of post–secondary education.
I’ve known many parents who feel like their teens tune them out. But even though our teens don’t always seem to care, the truth is that adult involvement—from parents, teachers, and pastors—influences them in meaningful ways. You can make a difference, and in this book I’m giving you the tools to do just that. You’ll find everything you need to have crucial conversations with your teens about the college years and beyond. You’ll be able to point out the pitfalls and highlight the opportunities.
Preparing your teens for college begins with you. Start today.
Alex Chediak (@chediak) is a professor of engineering and physics at California Baptist University and the author of Preparing Your Teens for College (Tyndale House Publishers, 2014) and Thriving at College (Tyndale House Publishers, 2011). Learn more about Alex’s work at his website.