Perhaps you’ve never stepped foot on a college campus or it’s been two decades since you’ve attended college.
Every youth worker can be a tremendous source of encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and have an eternal impact on college-bound seniors during the fall college admissions process.
We know that Jesus hung out with people (John 1:14), talked about the future, and ate a lot of fish. So as your seniors are excitedly talking about their future independence, grab a fish sandwich, and join the conversation when seniors start talking about college.
Encourage Seniors to Stay Focused on Their Journey
College planning can be confusing and stressful – especially for first-generation students and others who don’t know where to attend. They need a trusted youth worker to share advice.
When you’re at a tennis match, cafeteria table, or in the church parking lot, listen to their story. One Wednesday after worship service, Daniel and I began discussing his grades, his career choices and his college choices. He wanted to study music and shared that his dad wanted him to study something else. It was causing conflict in their relationship. So, I listened and encouraged him to consider God’s calling while respecting his parents. After a lengthy discussion, we prayed before he left.
Host a college planning seminar at your church. Invite college students, educational consultants, school counselors, and college admissions officers to speak.
Connect your students with other seniors who are scheduling official college visits, especially if they are still unsure about where (or if) they want to attend. Visiting a campus is an important step in the process.
Take an informal visit to a college campus. I was driving a group of students back from a leadership camp that was held at a private university campus. As we were nearing a Historically-Black College or University (HBCU), Albert asked if we could stop and visit. He was going to be the first person in his family to attend college and I wanted to encourage his options. So, we stopped for a thirty-minute, informal visit. It was a blast! Hearing his friends get excited about attending college was fun as well. After taking a few pictures near the entrance, we discussed their college future for the remainder of the trip. And yes, he was accepted to that HBCU (not the one pictured)!
Keep your seniors focused by asking career and college based questions. Start with these:
Share information about college planning through announcements or social media. Use this College Application Timeline to get started.
September – write essays, take tests, apply for scholarships (two each week), request recommendation letters
October – finalize college lists and essays, apply for financial aid
November – submit college applications, apply for more scholarships!
It is easy for seniors to get distracted with drum rehearsals, AP classes, and homecoming floats. Youth workers can keep seniors focused on their college journey and strengthen their faith in Jesus.
(Click here to read part two.)
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.