If you had the chance to communicate one message to incoming students — 2 months before their arrival — what would it be?
We are in the midst of our summer orientation here at BU. It’s probably not too different from what happens on most other campuses around the country that practice this same methodology of “introducing” new students to campus.
Over the course of a day (transfers), or day and a half (traditional freshmen), we bombard these incoming students (and their parents) with a lot of information, introduce them to some “key” people on campus, get them navigating their way through campus, and then send them on their way with a lot of material to digest over the 2 months they have before they return.
Additionally, as a Christian university, we are increasingly intentional about how we communicate our Christian identity and mission to these new community members during this time — and how each of them will have the chance to be shaped and changed by the active work of God in this place.
The big things we want our students to walk away from this time thinking about (in preparation for their return) are:
- The college years are some of the most formative years of life.
- God has a plan for these years — and your life.
- While you are here, God wants to work with you to develop the gifts, passions and talents He has uniquely designed you with.
- God wants you to grow in your love for Him, and others, in ways that make a difference now (and later).
- Prayerfully begin to prepare NOW for how you will take advantage of these critical years on campus.
Likewise, the big things we want parents to hear are:
- We are “setting the table” for your students to grow spiritually here — but we can’t make them come to the table and feast, and neither can you.
- This is the time they need to make their faith their own — if they haven’t done so already.
- Give them some space — to ask questions, to have doubts, to struggle, and even to fail — God can use it all to help your student grow.
- Your role with you child is changing — and it needs to. It’s time for them to start taking steps towards being a responsible adult. So pray for them, encourage them, ask them questions, continue to love and support them — in some new and different ways — as they question, doubt, struggle, fail and grow during these next few years.
It’s such an exciting time! I pray that God will bless the next couple of months these students have as they prepare to join us in the fall.
What about you?
- What would you include in a summer message to your incoming students?
- What would you want them to know about you, your ministry, the institution you serve?
- What message what you want to communicate to parents?