As you pack and get ready to head off to school this fall, load up the best five success tips for Christian college students. Your Christian faith is the key to being a successful Christian college student. Your relationship with Jesus Christ is empowering, and you can tap into God’s power to underpin your success. The advice below is designed to help you grow as a Christian as well as to succeed academically.
Successful Christian college students understand that God ultimately is the source of their success, and they prioritize their faith. These students navigate through inevitable struggles, and they are never limited by effort. Successful Christian college students rely on God’s strength to empower them. Finally, they forge connections that contribute to academic success and spiritual growth.
- Prioritize Your Relationship with Jesus Christ
Your relationship with Jesus Christ must be a priority for you in college. Otherwise, you can drift from the Lord at a pivotal time in your life. Stick to your Biblical values, and stay attentive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Make a commitment to pray and read your Bible daily. Spending a few minutes each day in God’s presence will help you stay focused on Him.
Bolster your faith by connecting with other Christians. Find the Christian Student Center on your campus, and get to know the staff and other Christian students. Join a Bible study and get involved in other Christian programs. Many churches in college towns have special ministries for Christian students. Find a local church, get connected, and attend on weekends when you are on campus. Christian friendships will keep you Christ-centered and make college more enjoyable.
- Work as Unto the Lord
The Bible instructs Christians to work as though we are working for the Lord rather than for men (Colossians 3:23). Let this truth encourage your best effort in all aspects of your college career. Working unto the Lord ensures that your academic record represents your ability rather than your effort and gives you an advantage over effort-limited students. This advantage is manifest in a higher GPA as well as in a solid reputation with faculty and staff who will write reference letters when you apply for scholarships, awards, internships, and jobs.
- Learn From Your Struggles
Understand that you likely will encounter struggles during your college career. When you do struggle, ask God what He wants you to learn. He may use a struggle to teach you to rely on Him more. Or, He may be prompting you to change your academic major. (Be sure you truly know His will for your education before making such a big change!)
Of course, struggling in college does not necessarily mean that you should change your major. God may use your struggles in a class to give you the incentive to further develop your academic success skills and abilities. He may use financial struggles to teach you to manage your money. He may use a struggle to smooth out a rough spot in your character.
Regardless of the reason, believe that God has a purpose for allowing the struggle. Pray to God and ask Him to reveal His purpose. And remember that God is with you in the struggle. If you trust Him, He will use the struggle for your ultimate good.
- Rely on God’s Strength
As just discussed, Christian students experience struggles as do non-Christian students. The difference, of course, is that you can call on God and tap into His infinite power and wisdom. Christian students, and Christians in general, succeed by relying on God rather than relying on themselves.
College is challenging and requires hard work. Your faith in Christ does not exempt you from hard work, but it does avail you to God’s strength. Reliance on God’s strength is especially important as you encounter new challenges in college. You will need strength to handle increasing academic demands, to balance work and class schedules, and to cope with the stresses encountered by many college students. On your own, you can feel overwhelmed. However, you are not alone. Embrace your identity in Christ and rely on Him.
- Connect with Faculty and Staff
Connect with your faculty beyond the classroom. Ask for clarification of class material and get help on assignments during office hours. Inquire about opportunities to participate in your faculty’s research or other scholarly activities. Doing so will increase your academic understanding and will allow you to build a network of faculty who can recommend you for scholarships, awards, internships, and jobs.
Similarly, check in regularly with your academic advisor. An effective academic advisor is an excellent source of information regarding course selection and academic best-practices, and he or she can guide you to additional campus resources. Further, your advisor can connect you with opportunities for scholarships and awards.
You will benefit greatly by connecting with a Christian mentor who can give you faith-based advice. You may connect with a Christian faculty/staff member in your academic department or through your Christian Student Center. A Christian mentor can help you stay focused on your faith and can provide a Christian perspective to help you navigate the issues faced by college students.
In summary, as a Christian college student, you are divinely empowered to succeed. Keep your relationship with Jesus Christ as your top priority, call on Him to strengthen you, and follow His guidance. Find a Christian mentor and develop a network of Christian friends to help you navigate college. Connect with your faculty and advisor, and ask for help when you need it. Remember that God is a close as a prayer. Finally, share your faith with others so that they too can experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Cary J. Green, PhD recently founded Leadership and Soft Skills Training. Prior to starting his own business, Green spent twenty years teaching, advising, mentoring, and supervising university students. He also spent ten years in leadership positions in higher education. He taught leadership and academic success classes and he also mentored student leadership development organizations. He volunteered in the high school youth ministry in his church. Please visit http://leadershipandsoftskills.com/ for free leadership development resources and information on his book entitled, “Empowering Young Christians: Developing Bible-Based Leadership and Soft Skills.”