The First Two Weeks


© 2014 Kevin Dooley, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

During the first two weeks of college, your child is facing much bigger issues than getting lost on campus, and running out of clean underwear.   Kara Powell and Chap Clark in their book Sticky Faith say, “Over and over, students have told us that the first two weeks at college are when they make key decisions about drinking and other high-risk behaviors, right along with choosing whether to go to church or to a campus ministry.”  (Powell and Clark)

In a college setting, social groups are quickly formed often based on where you live, and involvement (sport teams, music groups, or other interest groups).  The warm friendly smiles that you receive on campus while visiting, quickly fade as people are no longer looking for more friends.  Petrified of being left alone, students often make decisions based on their need for social connection.

Students quickly learn that their decisions about alcohol and other behavior will quickly ostracize them from others.  It doesn’t take too many evenings left alone in the dorm before feelings of loneliness can overwhelm even the deepest resolve.

How do you prepare a student for those first two weeks?

1.  Teach them to walk across the room and extend a hand.  Teaching your child basic skills in how to make new friends is crucial for this new phase of life.  Many adolescents face little change in their circle of friends during high school, and have forgotten how to make new friends.  Encouraging your adolescent to always be looking for new friends will help them keep their social skills, and prepare them for the future.  As a child moves away from home, emerging adults meet their first test, whether than can develop their own community.

2.  Teach them how to find a Spiritual Community.  Most adolescents have never picked out a church before.  They don’t know what questions to ask, or what to look for?  Your child might be overwhelmed by the available options, and not try.  According to Sticky Faith Research,  “40% of students feel prepared to find a new church.”  Parents need to prepare their child for find a new Christian community.

Use on-line tools to help your student check out churches around their campus. is an outreach of the Youth Transition Network: a coalition of youth, college and military ministries working together to transition students from high school to college/career  (For more information about YTN go to

3.  Remember last minute cramming, isn’t very helpful.  One emerging adult said, “I really appreciated that they didn’t give me a bunch of last minute “advice” about how to live life on my own. I feel like the drop off is not the time or place! If they want to give me life lessons, giving nagging reminders as they drop me off isn’t the best!”

It is not the absence of information that causes students to make poor decisions, it is often the lack of will.  The prophet Isaiah makes this point when he says,  “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”   Even though you are not with them, your child will hear your voice as they are making their own decisions.

First2Weeks_v1 (1)4.  Pray, and ask others to join you during this time.  Pray for godly influences including:  friends, ministries, and other adults.  Encourage your church community to do a prayer campaign for college students during the fall as students are leaving for school.  Join our prayer campaign.

Ultimately, you have no control over the first two weeks or any week of your child’s experiences at college.  You can only surrender yourself, and your child to the Lord in prayer.  This is what makes the first two weeks so very difficult.


Powell, Kara and Chap Clark.  Sticky Faith:  Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids.

Top questions to ask college students before they head to school

Fall is upon us, and student will soon be packing their bags and leaving for college.  If your child is leaving, Kara Powell from the Fuller Youth Institute released this article about preparing your child for college.  Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary.

When our oldest started high school, multiple older parents told me that high school would fly by. I didn’t believe them, but now that Nathan is diving into eleventh grade, I’ve jumped on the “high school goes so fast” bandwagon.

Here is the full article! 

Pass it along to someone you know is dropping off a student this fall.

If you work with emerging adults, please join Kara and other members of the Fuller Youth Institute as members of the EA Network – a networking site on Facebook.

Other resources:


Student Loans – Change is on the Horizon

© 2017 Hamza Butt, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

The amount of educational debt among emerging adults continues to increase.  In 2016, the average among college graduates was over $37k.  About 44 million Americans hold about 1.34 trillion dollars in student loan debt.  This amount of debt as a young adult can be overwhelming, and change is needed to our educational system, and how college is financed.

Millions of student loans could be headed for big shakeup

As Courtney Minor began a master’s program in vocal performance, she made sure to heed some well-known advice: Stick to federal government student loans. 

In completing the two-year program at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Boston in 2009, Minor racked up $60,000 in debt using six different loans, which required her to pay a total of $800 a month for 10 years following her graduation.

Read the full article here.

Here are some of the changes discussed:

  • Adjusted Loan Forgiveness
  • Employer Incentives to Assist in Debt Payments
  • Additional Refinance options
  • Eliminate PLUS loans

While no one really knows what the future holds (since many of these changes are based on our political system), the church should speak regularly about the danger of debt which is mentioned regularly in scripture.

Related Articles:


Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and communities to minister to the needs of emerging adults.

Bringing home more than their laundry – Post from Steve Argue

The team at Fuller Youth Institute have brought great resources like Sticky Faith, and Growing Young.  Share this great article to encourage and equip parents for when their child comes home for winter break.

Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry

Photo by Paul Green


Parents all over the country are anticipating their young adult kids coming home for the holiday break. For some, it’s the first time they’ve been home since they sent them off and set them up for the college school year. Home will feel like home again.

Likely, they’ll bring their laundry, too. 

Here is the rest of the piece.

Steven Argue joined the Fuller Theological Seminary faculty in June 2015 in a hybrid role as assistant professor of youth, family, and culture and as applied research strategist with the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI).


I’ll be home for Christmas – Welcoming College Students Home for Break.

Christmas Tree from Flickr via Wylio

© 2011 Tom Ipri, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

While emerging adults will be home for Christmas, don’t expect them to come pounding on your door to talk.  Aside from endless family gatherings and catching up with high school friends, many of them will work in order to make spending money, or to stay relevant in their old job.

So how do we make the most of the Holiday season in regards to ministering to college students?  (Other than asking those who are musically skillful to fill into our holiday rotations – which often speaks louder to emerging adults about what and who we value than we would care to admit.)  Here are a few thoughts to get you started.

  1. Acknowledge them from the platform and in print. As a congregation, make it clear that you value them, and that you are glad that they are home.  Run an announcement in your bulletin that communicates, “You are still a part of our community, and we are glad you are home.”  During Christmas break, our church would run an announcement saying that there was a gift for every young adult in attendance.  As the pastor of young adults, I would hand out candy bars to those who stopped by (whether a student home from college, a regular attender, or a visitor).  It was a great chance to say thanks for coming, and to reacquaint with them as adults.
  2. Ask good questions. The worst question that you can ask is, “How is school going?” Remember that not all high school graduates leave town, or even attend college.  Don’t assume that the reason you haven’t seen them is because they are away at college.  Due to society’s expectations, those who are not taking classes feel embarrassed, and rather than stick around, they will stop attending.  While many more graduates are attending college, many drop out due to a variety of reasons including:  finances, family, illness, or lack of motivation.  Ask general questions, and allow them to steer the conversation.
  3. Allow them to change.  There is inevitable awkwardness.  You haven’t seen them, and they haven’t seen you, and so there is a need to reacquaint yourself with each other.  As you catch up, realize that they are not the same person as when they left.  They want people to see a difference and treat them as adults.  We need to communicate to emerging adults that they are free to grow and change within fear of rejection from our community.
  4. Plan a gathering (using social media) where they can reunite with church friends. Someone on our youth staff would host a college party over Christmas break each year.  Many Christian camps hold retreats for young adults over Christmas break which are inexpensive and a great way for them to connect with other Christians.

If you church is serious about connecting with Millennials, then you must take advantages of every opportunity – including breaks in the academic calendar.  As they come home for Christmas, I pray that you will be ready – with a purposeful greeting, a Spirit-guided conversation, and a warm embrace.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to emerging adults.  He writes and teaches regularly on spiritual formation, delayed development, and emerging adulthood at and  If he can help your community, contact him at



What Comes After for-Profit Colleges’ ‘Lehman Moment’? Possibly an Education Crash

Image result for end of collegeJust as the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008 heralded a much larger economic crash, the September shuttering of the ITT Technical Institute chain of for-profit colleges signals a broad crisis in higher education. 

Read the entire here.


  • Since 2000, overall educational outcomes have fallen while debt and student defaults have risen. And for-profits have become ground zero for the student-debt crisis, representing roughly 75% of the increase in student defaults.
  • The $1.2 trillion student-debt bubble represents a much smaller part of the consumer-credit market than housing did on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis.
  • only a quarter of first-year college students can predict their own debt loads within 10% accuracy.
  • While it’s true that a degree ensures something more than a $15-an-hour future for most graduates, it’s no longer a ticket to higher social mobility for the poorest Americans. Many end up in second-or third-tier colleges, going into debt for dubious degrees.
  • In ITT’s case, the government may write off loans for current students. Though aimed this time at the right people, this new bailout could end up costing taxpayers $500 million, according to private student lender Sallie Mae.

Other articles that might interest you:

The Gap Year(s): Why I’m Glad I Took Time Off From Higher Education

When I graduated from college, countless classmates were headed to grad school — M.Eds, MDs, MBAs, MAs, MDivs, you name it. Well-intentioned professors urged me to do the same. I wanted to be a people-pleaser (and certainly a professor-pleaser!) as always…but just couldn’t shake the feeling that for some reason I wasn’t ready yet.

Kate's pic_graduationEmbarrassed, I moved home to my parents’ house (and later to a house with a few friends my age), got a job, and settled in.

It’s been 2 years since I wore a cap and gown. And each year, especially in the springtime, Facebook fills up with giddy grad school acceptance posts. There’s pictures of college hoodies and white coat ceremonies, comments of new seasons and new opportunities.

First, I feel happy for them; I really do. Then, the social comparison sets in, and I feel jealous, less-accomplished, one-step-behind. And, finally, when I think about it? Grateful. Grateful for the time I’ve had to live and work and learn some things like this:

  1. Being comfortable working with people significantly older than myself. In college, I worked, lived, and ate almost entirely with people approximately my age. But that’s not how most of the world operates. Now, I love sharing ideas and projects and meals with people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and on upwards.
  2. Keeping up with cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. In college, I had just half a dorm room to take care of and a meal plan to nourish me. Again, that’s not how most of the world operates. But now that I’ve taken the time to practice, I’m grateful to be able to do these “adult” things at least semi-decently.
  3. Writing not only essays but cover letters, resumes, professional emails, newsletters, thank you letters, grants, and the list goes on. I know some of these things were taught at my university’s Career Center. And probably in the Business school. But nothing beats experience (especially since, as an English major, most of my prior experience was with William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot). Now, I love being able to confidently tell potential employers that, whatever type of writing they need done, I can probably figure it out.
  4. Having fun. Yes, it may be backwards, but I’m a nerd and have learned how to have fun more after college than during it. In college, if a friend asked me to go on a walk just for fun, I’d nervously eye my to-do list and likely say no. Now, when a housemate asks me to sit on the porch and do nothing with her — nothing but sip our tea and talk and watch the sunset — I still have the to-do list but more likely say, “sure.” I love that doing nothing, which used to elicit a resounding “why would I do that?!” now elicits a resounding “sure, why not?!” This strikes me now as socially, spiritually, mentally, and physically healthy.
  5. Reading and writing for fun. By the end of college, poetry had lost its pizzazz and novels no longer seemed like a novel idea. They were assigned, analyzed, and amounted to a lot of work. Had I started grad school immediately, my reading and writing would have been burdensome from the get-go, which could easily have taken a toll on both my schoolwork and my mental health. Now, I love reading and writing more than ever.
  6. Focusing on what I should do and not being as distracted by what I could do. In college, I was a young arts & humanities major interested in lots of things. Ask me what I wanted to do professionally, and the answer got more and more muddled by the month. But, give me a job to do for a while, and the answers begin to settle. I’ve asked myself questions like “What is it that you can’t help but do? What is it you daydream about doing? What exactly could you see working on in-depth for a long while?” And I love that the answers have gotten clearer.

I’m sure this isn’t everyone’s experience of college and life-after-college. Plenty of people have practical experiences, fun, focus, and their own cooking and cleaning during college. And plenty of people struggle after college. But this has been my experience.

If you’re thinking about taking time off from higher education, I’d so strongly encourage you to do it. I never thought I’d say this but: I’m grateful I’ve done it.

This post originally appeared on

View More: Powers is Blog Developer at EA Resources. A writer and seminary student at Duke Divinity School, Julia enjoys contributing an emerging adult voice to EA Resources and blogging at her own site

5 Important Talks to have with your High School Grad – from Huffington Post

There is so much that you want to say to your child in those final last days before dropping them off on campus.  When the time arrives, some parents respond by going into a last-minute cram session with their child while others are so overwhelmed with their own thoughts and emotions that they are left speechless.

  • What should you say?
  • What do you NOT say?

Here is an article from the Huffington Post that can equip parents for making sure that they have addressed some of the important issues.

The five conversations listed by Dr. Gail Gross are…

1.  Drugs and Alcohol

2.  Sex

3.  Consequences

4.  Money

5. Your support

If you want an article on any of these topics, click the link.




Glorifying God as a Student – By Amanda Babcock

As students head back to school and we pray for emerging adults particularly during their #first2weeks on college campuses, it can be helpful to remember that being a student is so much more than learning to read and write, decipher and discuss, calculate or conjugate. Being a student involves learning to glorify God.

Emerging adult Amanda Babcock has written a reflection on how to glorify God as a student.

“There are so many days that I barely even have time to eat or sleep. Being a college student is a full-time job. And then everyone expects you to also have a job to afford living, be involved, sleep, eat, and exercise. It’s basically an impossible task. I’ve been prone to complain about how much work I have, or how stressed I am, or how overwhelmed I am. But the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can use everything I do to glorify God.

In fact, it’s pretty simple. I realized that putting my best foot forward in all I do brings glory to God.

Click here for full article on using our gifts and talents, classes and callings, to glorify God.


Amanda BabcockAmanda Noelle Babcock is a student at Bethel University studying Environmental Science in hopes of doing Environmental Restoration with missions. She loves the outdoors, being Minnesotan, and everything about camp – including flannels, chacos, and sharing the gospel. To read more by Amanda, check out her blog.

5 Things I’m Reminding My Anxious Mind This School Year

I graduated college three years ago, having received a bachelor’s degree, a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, a couple rounds of counseling, and some initial practice at stress management. Now, as a slightly more mature yet still meandering 20-something, I am excitedly and anxiously returning to school for a master’s degree — far away from home, no less. During this season of transitions for so many young people, I am reminding my mind of the unique stresses — and unique resources — that exist for students with reminders like this:


1. Don’t leave your coping strategies at home. Identify maybe two to three coping strategies that have worked for you already — strategies you may have practiced over the summer — and keep them going as much as possible as you start school. Continuing some of your routines can be an absolute anchor for the soul. For me, this might look like prayer in the morning, deep breaths in the afternoon when my day is getting overwhelming, and a practice of gratitude around bedtime. I’d like to include going for a run, but realistically I have a love/hate relationship with exercise (which tends toward more “hate” than “love”)! For you, this can and should look like whatever simple, manageable practices work for you.

2. Investigate options for mental health care even before you arrive on campus. Check the resources provided by your school’s counseling center, health center and dean’s office. Sometimes schools also have student-run organizations like Active Minds and TWLOHA UChapters. If you think on-campus resources may not be the best fit for you, try asking for referrals and perusing Psychology Today’s therapist directory (which also includes listings of psychiatrists, support groups, and treatment facilities).

3. Don’t hide. When I feel anxious, all I want to do is curl up in bed in the fetal position — especially if I’m in a new place where I’m not sure who to reach out to for help. Curling up in bed is all right sometimes, but don’t let that be your only response to anxiety. Balance out that hour in isolation with an hour in counseling. Call up a friend. If you live in a dorm, knock on your resident assistant’s door. I promise there are good, good people around you willing to help, even if you don’t yet know who they are.

4. Try not to give in to “stress pressure.” This is like peer pressure, but it’s the particular pressure that can happen in school settings which pressures students to act stressed. Stress pressure suggests that when someone asks “Hey, how are you?” it’s somehow “cool” to say “I’m tired” or “I’m busy.” It’s somehow cool to pull all-nighters, chug coffee or energy drinks, and compare how many assignments you have due this week. But here’s what I’m reminding my anxious mind: It’s 100 percent cool to sleep, sip tea or water, and do your school work to the best of your ability without comparing it to others.

5. Practice self-acceptance. This might mean acceptance of getting an occasional B or C or F on a test. This might mean acceptance of (and even asking for) an extension on an assignment; professors will often outline policies for “grace days” on their course syllabi and review said policies on the first day of class, so pay attention to this and don’t be ashamed to use it. Above all, this means acceptance of who you are — the strong, smart, capable yet not-capable-of-everything human that you are.

I wonder: What would you put on this list? If you are a student (or work with students), what do you need to remind your anxious mind? Give yourself these reminders early and often, giving yourself grace now and throughout the school year.

This post originally appeared on

View More: Powers is Blog Developer at EA Resources. A writer and seminary student at Duke Divinity School, Julia enjoys contributing an emerging adult voice to EA Resources and blogging at her own site