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!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Book is Here!

Last week I was at Geneva College for CCO’s annual training event, Spring Institute. I had an opportunity to present a seminar on college transition to about 20 campus ministers. Our goals were to better understand the issues students face when transitioning to college and to develop strategies for working with first year students. It was a good discussion.

Another exciting thing happened last week. I received a few copies of the book I coauthored which will be released on June 6 by Brazos Press. Coauthored with my good friend Don Opitz, the book is entitled The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Guide for Students. It is an introductory text to help students gain a radical (outrageous!) vision for being faithful to Christ in their college studies and approach education as their vocation. I’m sure I’ll blog more about this in days to come, but I wanted to bring it to your attention now.

George Marsden, author of The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (now that’s a cool title!), had this to say:

The book provides clear and accessible guidelines on how to relate one’s faith to academics. I hope it is widely used.

We hope so too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

College Hopes and Worries

The Princeton Review, an organization committed to helping students, parents, and educators achieve the best outcomes at all stages of their educational careers, has released data from an interested survey they conducted. The survey asked students and parents this question: "What 'dream college' would you most like to attend (or see your child attend) if acceptance or cost weren't issues?"

Top five answers by students:
1) New York University (for the third consecutive year)
2) Harvard
3) Stanford
4) Princeton
5) Columbia

For parents:
1) Stanford
2) Princeton
3) Harvard
4) Brown
5) Notre Dame

You can read the rest of the list here.

The survey also included useful information, such as:

65% report high levels of stress about the college application process (up 6% from last year).

70% expect the cost of their degree to exceed $75,000.

51% say getting financial aid will be "extremely necessary" to pay for college (and another 27% say it will be "very necessary").

For more statistics concerning “college hopes and worries” click here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Plastic Surgery: The Perfect Graduation Gift?

One of the issues I address in the college transition seminar is body image. There is a lot of pressure for students, both male and female, to look a certain way on campus. In an interview for CPYU, Brea, a local college student, had this to say:

“It is hard to feel beautiful when looking through fashion magazines. It is even harder at college. College is like walking in a fashion magazine 24/7. It's difficult enough to stay on top of schoolwork nevertheless to stay on top of what you look like in comparison to the hundreds of other young beautiful women walking around campus. It is the only time in life where you are surrounded by people your own age all trying to look their best. It makes you question your own identity and self worth. It's not easy.”

Well, it’s not going to get much easier. Check this out:

“When Courtney Powers graduated from high school last year, she didn’t receive a new computer or a trip to Europe. The North Carolina teen got a pair of D-cup breast implants… Although teens make up just 2 percent of cosmetic surgery patients in the United States, their numbers have grown. From 2002 to 2006, procedures performed on kids ages 13 to 19 nearly doubled to 244,124, including about 47,000 nose jobs and 9,000 breast augmentations, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). And it's become trendy for nose jobs, breast implants, teeth whitening, skin resurfacing and liposuction to top a grad’s wish list, says Dr. Roxanne Guy, ASPS president. She and other experts say the desire for teen cosmetic surgery has been fueled by television shows depicting extreme makeovers, as well as society's growing acceptance of plastic surgery in general.”

You can read the rest of the article, Way to go, grad! Here's a check for a new nose: Is cosmetic surgery an appropriate commencement gift for teens? and watch an informative video here.

This is a great discussion starter for teens. Read over the article, show the video and consider these questions:

1. Have you ever wanted to alter your appearance? What would you change?
2. Do you feel pressure to look a certain way? Describe it.
3. Where does the pressure come from?
4. How does your faith speak into this issue?
5. What difference does it make to know that you are a child of God?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Good Times in Tulsa

This weekend I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma presenting the college transition seminar. It was a great time with students and parents. A big thanks to Jay and Brad for their hospitality and encouragement. The First United Methodist Church of Tulsa is doing great ministry, and it was exciting to be a part of it in some small way.

At this particular seminar we spent a good bit of time talking about college students and finances. I presented the issues facing students in this area, especially debt (college loans and credit cards). It has been my experience that most college students don’t know some of the basics of “how money works.” Simple concepts like “compound interest” have not been taught and/or grasped. I try to make the case that part of the responsibility of preparing students for life after high school is teaching them about finances. During the question and answer time, a few parents asked me for resources. Here are a few that I think are helpful:

The Young Americans Center for Financial Education provides valuable statistics here.

You can read the results of an informative Bank of America Survey here.

USA Today has run many articles concerning college students and finances. Start here and then do a search to find more.

My wife and I have benefited from the Good Sense Ministry which has as its mission: "To empower church leaders to implement a biblically based stewardship ministry within the local church.” The material may need to be translated and adapted to reach teenagers, but I think it is a good place to get information and then think through how to present it to youth.

New York Times: Faith on Campus

Someone just brought this to my attention, and I think that the New York Times only allows a week to view articles online. The article appeared last week on May 2 and concerns “religion” on college campuses. It makes the case that more and more students are interested in learning about faith and are engaging in “religious practices” such as worship services and prayer. Matters of Faith Find a New Prominence on Campus begins:

“Peter J. Gomes has been at Harvard University for 37 years, and says he remembers when religious people on campus felt under siege. To be seen as religious often meant being dismissed as not very bright, he said. No longer. At Harvard these days, said Professor Gomes, the university preacher, ‘There is probably more active religious life now than there has been in 100 years.’”

You can read the entire article here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Look!

I failed to mention in my last post that this site has a new look. I changed the template and think this one is a bit easier to read. And in other big, “new look” news… The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding has also changed the look of its website! Check it out here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

College Drinking and Heart Problems

Wow! It has been a long time since I wrote on this blog. Does anyone still look at this site? Just curious. I think part of the problem was that I spent the first 16 days of March in Russia teaching a class and when I came back I was busy with seminars and other things. Now I will try to make more time.

Here’s something of interest. “New research from the American Heart Association (AHA) reveals that college students who drink excessively can double their levels of something known as C-reactive protein (CRP), a biological marker for inflammation that has been associated with a higher chance of cardiovascular problems.” Dr. Sanjay Gupta writes for Time/CNN:

“In many ways, I was a pretty typical pre-med student. I studied hard with hopes of becoming a doctor, and on the weekends I drank socially with good friends. As I got older and passed through medical school and residency, my thirst for alcohol waned considerably. As it turns out, that may have been a good thing for many reasons. I didn't know it at that time, but drinking heavily, even as far back as college, could have increased my risk of heart disease.”

Read the rest here.