Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Some of you are DONE and some of you are SO CLOSE to walking (six feet apart) across the graduation finish line. Here are a few things to remember as you prepare to attend college in the fall.
 Celebrate your accomplishment! You did it!
 Check in with your college – weekly. Some colleges are starting on campus classes in August, September, or October. Some will be completely online for the fall semester. Some won't make a final decision until early August.
 Schedule student orientation. Many colleges are holding orientations online or delaying until just before the fall semester. Either way, orientation usually includes valuable advising information and allows you to register for classes.
 Submit your final transcript and other required documents.
 Say thank you! Tell teachers, counselors, mentors, tutors, coaches and others that have helped you, “Thank you”. Give SPECIAL thanks and appreciation to your parents and family for support. Invite them to remain a part of your community to help you succeed in college!
 Make summer meaningful. Plan to work, improve your study skills, learn something new, or spend time (whether online or in person) with friends and family this summer. Save any money you earn for when you start college in the fall.
 Check your health records. Get your physical. Confirm your health insurance. Purchase a small first-aid kit. Maintain your exercise and nutrition routine over the summer. Don't allow the Freshman 15 to piggy back on the Quarantine 15.
 Reaffirm your higher calling and determination to graduate with a bachelor's in four years!
Eating a balanced diet. Trusting the science behind medicine or essential oils. Selecting healthy life choices.
Three reasons why you should attend college and earn a bachelor’s degree.
If that doesn’t make sense, read A Dying Town by Sarah Brown and Karin Fischer (Chronicle of Higher Education). It is a heart-felt story that highlights the healthy benefits of higher education. I don’t know if you’ve ever considered postsecondary education as being good for your health. I knew it would allow me to establish a career and earn more money, but not benefit my health.
Actually, research has shown this to be true. One of the great benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree is establishing a healthier lifestyle (2016 Education Pays, College Board).
Studies show that college graduates tend to value healthier lifestyles (regardless of age, income, or demographics). Higher levels of education are correlated with better health. Earning a bachelor’s degree also improves the lives of their children (higher cognitive skills, more involved in athletic, religious, and cultural extracurricular activities).
The authors of “A Dying Town” reference research completed by two Princeton economists that show people without a college education “have weaker job prospects, and, faced with declining economic and social well-being, turn to drugs and alcohol.”
While the experts don’t know why, Brown and Fischer agree that “people with more education are more likely to pay attention to scientific reports about health and wellness and to heed their advice.” When you attend college, you’ll learn how to think critically as you write research papers. You’ll learn how to seek answers and ask questions to discover the truth.
In the story, we learn that the cycle of hopelessness makes teenagers “feel that they’re born into it and they’re going to die in it. Many kids simply can’t picture a different future.”
Too many students don’t believe that they can and will earn a college degree. Those students haven’t fully committed with their heart that they can. Guess what? You can go to college! You do have a hope and a future! Working with your school counselor or an educational consultant is the right step to get the guidance you need to plan for your future career and the right fit college.
Selecting a career path and major are emotional decisions. Selecting a college to earn a degree is an emotional decision. Determining how to pay for college is an emotional decision.
Too many students are not applying to college because they “don’t realize how to apply (or qualify) for financial aid.” While it can be complicated to begin with, working with a professional will give you the confidence you need to make the right decisions.
“Education matters, now more than ever. Get it, and chances are you will have a happier and longer, a wealthier and healthier life. Does going to college lead directly to better health? That’s a question for another day.”
Brown and Fischer conclude that “the college degree is a marker, a dividing line for health outcomes. As the benefits of having a degree accrue, so do the costs of not having one.”
So, if earning a college degree will help you establish a healthier lifestyle, were are you going?
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.