College is a critical time for many young people as they solidify their beliefs and plan for their future careers. As you prepare to go to college, make sure you are ready to grow in your faith as well. Here are some tips Christian college students can use to come out of their time in college stronger and ready to serve the Lord.
1. Serve Your New Community
College is an opportunity to explore a new setting, and this can be a great time to get into the habit of serving. Look for people who need a friend or campus ministries where you can jump in and lend a hand. Get into the local community to see if there are community service opportunities there. The faster you get involved through service, the faster your new community will feel like home.
2. Consider a Religious Degree
University of the Cumberlands is grounded in Christian principles and leadership, and we have several degrees that are religious in nature. Turn your passion for God’s Word into a vocation by pursuing a religious field of study and adding Christian education to your college experience, and you can spend your college years digging into your faith more deeply.
3. Reflect on Your Goals
What are your goals, both right now and for your future career path? Take some time to reflect on those and see how you can use your time wisely now to reach them. Remember to keep God in the midst of your goal setting.
4. Ask for Help if You’re Struggling
The transition to college can be a very challenging one. There are many new responsibilities and changing ways of life, and you can also find yourself face-to-face with new philosophies and thinking that might challenge your beliefs. If you find yourself struggling with your faith in college, ask for help. You can reach out to a local pastor or even give your parents a call to let them know you need some support and prayer.
5. Join a Local Church
One of the first priorities you should have after getting settled into your dorm is to find a local church. It can take a while to find one where you fit well, but once you do, consider joining and getting involved. This will help you make friends of like faith, give you some older, mature Christians you can go to for counseling, and a place to get involved in ministry and service. A church family can help you stay rooted in your faith in these exciting college years.
6. Maintain Your Spiritual Routine/Habits
Your prayer and personal Bible study time are going to be just as important now as they were when you were not in college, but sometimes you’ll struggle to find the time to have these moments. Make them a part of your daily routine, just like you did before going to school. Whether that means getting up a little bit earlier or finding a quiet spot during a free hour, strive to maintain your spiritual routine and habits as you experience college life.
Take advantage of faith-based scholarship opportunities, and avoid taking on too much college debt at the same time. If you have a long history of faith, church ministry, and church attendance, you may find that there are scholarships for you. If you have worked in charitable work through your church, or are planning to do so during college, there may be options for you there, as well.
8. Be Ready to Answer Questions
There may be students at your college who are not believers, and college is a great time to explore questions of faith and religion. Keeping up with your own personal bible study time is a great way to be prepared to answer questions of those who attend classes with you. Your testimony when you choose not to engage in some typical college behaviors and attend church regularly is likely to give you many opportunities to answer questions.
9. Get a Mentor
Once you’ve found your church, consider asking one of the older adults if they will mentor you. Godly mentors who have real-world experience can provide quite a bit of wisdom as you navigate this new adult life. They will also help you keep the right perspective on the peer pressure you might face on campus. Your mentor can serve as a sounding board when you have questions about everything from career moves to dating advice and provide a faith-based perspective.
10. Learn About Your Faith
How much do you really know about your beliefs? Many college students head to school simply believing what their parents believed without really digging into their faith. Now that you are older and ready to think more deeply, take the time to learn about your faith. Read books by trusted Christian authors. Listen to Christian podcasts on your way to class. Discover your faith’s history, doctrines, traditions, and belief system and enrich your own faith in the process.
11. Try New Things
New is not necessarily bad, as long as you stick with the main tenants of your faith. Consider visiting a church that is slightly different culturally from the one which you grew up, or consider trying a new style of Christian music. Take a study abroad opportunity with a mission organization or try a service opportunity on your campus that is just outside of your comfort zone. This is the time of life to try as many new things as possible so you can discover where your passions truly lie.
12. Be Conscious of Temptation
College is full of great opportunities, but it is also full of great temptation. Guard your heart and eyes against temptation. You know what you are most prone to falling into, so stay away from sin or the opportunity to sin. If you do give in to temptation, reach out to your mentor to ask for help to avoid it in the future.
13. Don’t Focus on Marriage
Many young people head to college with the goal of finding a spouse. While this is not a bad goal, making it your sole priority can be disappointing. Many people graduate college without finding their significant other. Some even say that it is better to do it this way, because they have time to focus on their studies rather than romance while spending the money on school. If you find love with a like-minded believer, then enjoy the relationship, but try not to make it your entire goal.
Ultimately, college is a good opportunity to grow in your walk with God. Making your religious studies and personal walk a top priority, and learning to lean on God when things get tough will let you come out of your college years strong in your faith.
Whether you attend a Christian college or a secular one, you need to be proactive to maintain your faith as a Christian college student. University of the Cumberlands has a large population of Christian students and several degrees that are faith-based. If you are interested in learning more about Christian degrees or student life at the University of the Cumberlands, contact an admissions counselor or request more information today.