High school graduates going to college: Fail forward and other advice

How can high school students prepare for college?

For this age group, college is a time of uncertainties, said Ryan Scantling, BCM Campus Minister in Conway.

“Christians need to walk into college with the understanding that it is a calling from God,” Ryan said. “The college years are a part of a lifetime journey, a chance to prepare for the future and yet to be a present light right where God has placed them.”

An incoming college freshman can link their relationship with God with their new academic surroundings. “They do not need to blindly walk, “ he said. “I’m learning about God that he loves process.” Just like the Hebrews journeying to the promised land or Joseph preparing for a famine: “College is part of a process of God growing them.”

Part of that growth comes through intentionally–making a student’s faith personal.

“College is a time where high school students no longer have to be under the shadow of their church and where they have freedom from parents,” said Ryan. “That can be good or bad.”

On the positive side, students get to follow Jesus freely for the first time in their lives which shows this generation’s “exciting and inspiring” passion for Christ.

But sometimes students make significant mistakes. Ryan said students are told not to fail instead of telling them that God can still use them after they mess up. “God has a greater plan,” Ryan tells students. “Life is failing forward.”

Ryan is taking his students to the Lead>Defend conference March 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

“Lead>Defend gives high school students the opportunity to be on a college campus talking about topics of faith in a front row seat, hearing about conversations which can have an effect on them all the years of their life,” Ryan said.

This year, a breakout session called College 101: How to Successfully Start Your College Career will be led by Eric Conley, college pastor at Second Baptist Church in Conway. This is how Eric describes the session: “The high school to college transition is the first big life change for many students. This session covers the two main areas of transition; Common Pitfalls and Habits for Success.” Eric will engage students in preparing for this transition through interactive teaching, Q & A, and prayer.

Lead>Defend is sponsored by the College + Young Leaders Team of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.