Prioritizing Student Transitions – by Stefanie Chappell

When I was 18, my mom literally drove me to college to make sure I got there successfully. I know I’m biased in saying this, but I wish more parents were like my mom!

The transition from high school to college is one of the most important in a person’s life. For perhaps the first time, college students face opportunities and challenges in a new environment, far from the daily connection time of the family dinner table. They navigate new spiritual, academic, physical, emotional and financial terrain. Will I find a church? Can I afford pizza again tonight? How do I settle a conflict with my roommate? Will I be able to say no when my friends want to go to a party I shouldn’t attend? Can I find the courage to share about Jesus with my new friend? These issues await our youth when they step onto their college campuses for the first time.

For nearly 25 years I have worked with thousands of students who made this transition, and I have seen the benefit of the investment that parents and pastors make into their youth by preparing them for college. These pastors and parents understand that their student’s success lies in wise preparation, and they prepare them for both the spiritual and practical realities they will face.

I was discussing this topic with several youth pastors one day. One youth pastor commented that his plate was so full that he didn’t have the time to add college prep to his schedule. A well respected youth pastor spoke: “I am here to make disciples for life. Preparing our youth is not one more thing on my plate. It’s my job.” A quiet settled over the room as the younger youth pastors listened with more than their ears.

My mom was so determined to get me to college successfully that she invested the effort to see that I got there safely. May we have a heart like Mom’s to see our youth successfully transition to college!


Stefanie Chappell

Stefanie Chappell (@stefachap) has been a campus missionary with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries ( for nearly 25 years. In addition to loving and serving college students and campus missionaries, she speaks to churches, parents and leaders on helping youth prepare for college. For links to resources for preparing youth for college, you can email her at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *