My best friend’s oldest daughter starts college this fall. My own daughter is just two years away from this new journey. She has taken her first stab at the ACT, and we’re getting ready to find out how to proceed with other tests and scholarship applications. College is definitely on my mind.
College can be overwhelming to a young person’s personal management, interpersonal relationships, and spiritual growth. Years of working with and speaking to college students have proven this truth to author and speaker Jonathan Morrow. The updated edition of Welcome to College is his effort to place a resource in the hands of college students to help them process through these overwhelming challenges in a way that keeps them grounded in their faith.
The advice and theological content found in Welcome to College are both very solid and sound. So many young adults drift away from their Christian upbringing during the college years, many of them never to return. This drift is often because they process through high school without hashing through these concepts, then get to college and find that they have no solid foundation of understanding to stand on. Welcome to College helps students process through these concepts, establishing a firm footing.
My question is this: would you have read this book as a college freshman? Or even during the summer before starting college? The chapters in Welcome to College are short, but with forty-three chapters, four appendices, and a total (including notes) of 410 pages, this is not exactly a quick, light read. The strong, weighty content makes this a book that should not be read quickly, either. It is too much to absorb in a quick, summer read, and it is unlikely that the information would truly be grasped were a student to try to read it in the midst of all of the new experiences of the freshmen year – if they even got it read at all.
In short, despite the solid content found in these pages, I would not give Welcome to College to my best friend’s high school senior as a graduation gift. Despite the fact that she is a studious, responsible, diligent young lady who would gladly embrace the advice and information in this book, she does not have the time to pour through it.
But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend the book. If Welcome to College were to be handed to an incoming freshman, I would encourage it to be done as a part of a mentoring group planning to work through it slowly. The chapters are short enough to read one a week and be prepared to talk through it in a group, even with a full school load. But an even more ideal situation would be to suggest that Welcome to College be backed up a couple of years. I know it is written to college students, but I see this filling a need for students pushing through their last couple of years of high school. Students like my own daughter who is finishing up her sophomore year. Thanks to the discussion questions in the back, this book would be a great year-long mentoring or small group study for high school students, helping them process through the content and allowing them to ask questions of people they know and trust before they hit the chaos of college.
Yes, Welcome to College holds a great deal of solid information and is one I would recommend. But, even better would be to not let our students get to college without having these concepts worked out before hand!