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Thriving at College: Make Great Friends, Keep Your Faith, and Get Ready for the Real World! Paperback – April 1, 2011
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"There is no better guide to college than this."
Alex and Brett Harris, best-selling authors of Do Hard Things
"Alex has written an insightful and useful book to help college-bound people know what to expect, how to prepare for it, and what to do to avoid the pitfalls."
Randy Alcorn, best-selling author of Heaven
"Written by an 'insider'--a former student, now a professor, this book addresses all the issues a student might face. An excellent gift for all high school seniors."
Jerry Bridges, best-selling author of The Pursuit of Holiness
Most Christian young people go to college without specific goals and are unprepared for the challenges that await them. While some prosper spiritually, most get derailed, and an alarming number abandon their faith. Alex has written an insightful and useful book to help college-bound people know what to expect, how to prepare for it, and what to do to avoid the pitfalls. (Randy Alcorn, bestselling author of Heaven)
Many in my generation look back on their college years with regret, wishing we had been more intentional and focused during our time on campus. Before you invest four years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars, spend a few dollars and a few hours to read this book. (Bob Lepine, cohost of FamilyLife Today)
Alex’s goal is to spare college-bound young people from entering college thoughtlessly and then drifting after they are there. The book has all the right ingredients to meet that goal. (Dr. Leland Ryken, professor at Wheaton College)
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Before delivering the books, I read significant chunks of each to confirm they were all audience-appropriate. What I learned was that while the other volumes are good ... "Thriving At College" is EXCELLENT. I pored through this in a couple of days and spoke immediately to our youth pastor. We changed our plans and bought 8 more copies of this one for our high school seniors and staff.
The frankness about adolescence and maturity is timely and refreshing for our youth fellowship. The excerpts from student questions are real, very practical advice. ALL of the chapters are relevant. Maybe I would have liked a little more talk about handling some other specific "challenges" (alcohol temptation, sexual temptations beyond hooking up with the opposite sex). But these are indirectly addressed in the rest of the book.
I even dare say, some non-Christian seekers/visitors will benefit greatly from reading this. They might not know God personally but they come to fellowship semi-regularly and want to succeed in life. Who knows, if they follow even half of this book's useful "secular" advice which is doled out winsomely - maybe they'll dig harder into the spiritual side of life as well. And of course if you know a Christian student going off or who just entered college- this "coffee chat" with Alex is worth FAR MORE than its modest price!
Divided in to four major areas (faith, relationships, character, and academics), Thriving in College is replete with good advice for young people and their parents, especially the part about failure to launch. I see it all the time, mainly because of a societal phenomenon known as helicopter parents, those who hover around their children attempting to control and direct their lives. Chediak raises the interesting point about there being no mention of teenagers in the Bible, just adults and children with no pushy helicopter parent in sight.
The author shares some practical information of use to all students regardless of age, area of study, or type of college. Included are tips on scheduling study time, developing specific study skills, and completing an internship. When choosing a major, he warns against getting involved in a career field just because parents think it's prestigious, especially if the student's gifts are in another area. "To God all legitimate vocations have equal dignity."
In summary, this is a well-written book with lots of food for thought. For example, while reading it, I gained some insight into the difference between recreation and entertainment. I'd never given much thought to these terms before, but now I see them as different in purpose. The former is meant to refresh and restore strength, spirit, and energy while entertainment is "amusement or diversion provided especially by others."
If you to thrive in college and graduate as a well-rounded, intelligent, articulate, flexible person," then read this book. And make sure your parents read it too.