Whenever a book is written by someone who works with the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding I take notice. Make College Count is by Derek Melleby, who directs CPYU’s College Transition Initiative, and if you are a college student or know a college student, get a copy and read it. Make College Count is brief, thoughtful, rooted in the gospel, and on the mark when identifying the issues worth discussing. This is not a book by someone who has burrowed away into a library and done research but someone who has read widely, sunk deep roots into Scripture, reflected wisely, and hung out with young adults, listening, learning, talking, and praying.
Melleby organizes Make College Count around a series of seven questions every college student answers, whether they realize it or not:
1. What kind of person do you want to become?
2. Why are you going to college?
3. What do you believe?
4. Who are you?
5. With whom will you surround yourself?
6. How will you choose a major?
7. How do you want your life to influence others?
The university years is the period during which people are shaped in ways that help form their character, understanding, worldview, relationships, and vocation. That shaping revolves around the answers that are given—intentionally or by default—to those seven questions.
Melleby realizes that Christian students are usually told what not to do when they leave for college, and he knows that is insufficient advice. The law, no matter how holy, does not answer the deepest yearnings and needs of the heart.
There will be pressure to engage in social and intellectual activity that could be detrimental to your health and faith. No question. But if there is one message that I hope gets through in this book, it is this: Christian students should not fear college. The Christian faith offers a foundation and framework for you to make your time in college the best four (or five or even six!) years of your life. The Christian life is defined more by what we do than what we don’t do. My prayer is that this book equips you with a vision to make the most of your college experience by growing in your faith, developing lasting friendships, and thinking more deeply about your place in God’s world. But please don’t take this book as another lecture trying to tell you what to do. Rather consider it an invitation to envision college differently, to ask good questions before going to college, and to be pointed in the direction of helpful resources. We recommend Make College Count to you.