College Transition Initiative

Welcome to the blog of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding’s (CPYU) College Transition Initiative (CTI). This site contains commentary on transitional issues, exploring research, trends and college student culture. For more information visit:

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Location: Elizabethtown, PA, United States

The transition from high school to college is a difficult one, and yet, it is a transition that is often overlooked. This site is to help college bound students, parents, and youth workers stay up to date on the latest research and trends in regards to college transition. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Join the conversation!

Friday, December 23, 2005


USA Today has been running a few articles this “semester” on college drinking. The first major piece was in November where they ran multiple stories on “Campus Drinking: Colleges are reaching their limit on alcohol,” looking at the college drinking problem from a variety of angles. You can read a good summary and view some interesting statistics (at the bottom of the article) here. For a list of all of USA Today’s articles on college drinking click here.

Yesterday USA Today featured an article entitled “Students sound off on drinking,” where they reported on a roundtable discussion held at the University of Georgia at Athens. UGA President Michael Adams has recently gone public with his hopes of addressing the drinking problem at UGA. The roundtable was composed of six students and a reporter and readers were given some highlights of the conversation. The article is worth reading in its entirety and is not long, but here is one part of the conversation that might interest you (the “Q” is the reporter, the names are UGA students):

Q: Can parents do anything?

Harkavy: A lot of parents have no idea what the heck their kid does. A buddy of mine's mom did not think he drank until he was 21, and he got trashed so many times his freshman year. Some parents want to think their child is an angel. It's a matter of being involved and talking to your kid.

Brown: Once (students) are off to college, the decision has been made. It goes back to their relationship with their parents. Parents can have that conversation during senior year of high school, but the outcome has been determined by how they have been raised.

Fields: Most students, when they get to college, it's not their first experience with alcohol. Some start as early as 11 or 12.

Ward: A lot of the ones who didn't drink in high school are the ones to explode in the first month at college.

I was intrigued by one other comment in particular. The question was "why do students binge drink?" and here is one of the responses:

"Our culture promotes excessive drinking as normal, almost expected, when students arrive at school. Students may not even be battling external peer pressure but rather an ingrained social pressure from our society."

In the past year, I have had significant conversations with two students who told me about their "very rough" first semesters. Both of them were involved in the party scene, and really didn't want to be. Their reason for being involved: "We didn't know anyone who didn't drink." Both Christians, they were "shocked" to "discover" Christian community their second semester, freshmen year. The Christian community has given them a place where they "can be themselves" and not "feel pressure to do what everyone else is doing."

The article in USA Today combined with my recent conversations with students reminded me of the importance of finding a Christian community on campus during your first semester. It's crucial!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


One of my favorite things about working for CPYU is arriving at my desk in the morning to find a stack of articles to read (no really, I mean it!) that Walt, Ken, Cliff, Doug or Chris contributed to (you can meet the staff here). I often find myself thinking, “I wish I could pass some of this onto others.” Well, now I can. Now the top of my desk is public, for all to see! Consider this blog a window, where readers have an opportunity to peer into my (our) work on college transition. I like the window metaphor, because I don’t have a window in my office. Actually, I don’t really have an office. It’s more like a desk. But a very nice desk. You get the idea.

This blog will also give me an opportunity to hear from you (students, parents, youth workers) so that we can work on this difficult transition together. I’m most interested in what you have to say. (As Jerry Maguire would suggest, “help me, help you!”) CPYU has started this initiative because we believe the transition from high school to college is a crucial one for followers of Christ. May this blog be a place where we can pass along to each other what we are hearing and seeing in regards to college transition.