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Helping Your Child Choose A College

As our children stand at the crossroads of choosing their college path, it’s a significant moment for both them and us. The decisions ahead might seem intimidating, but fear not, God is always with us and there’s others who are willing to lend a hand. They both stand ready to offer guidance if we simply ask.

As a Youth Pastor, a High School Football and Baseball Coach, and a parent, I’ve been involved in the “choosing a college” conversation hundreds of times. However, only three of these times as a parent. It’s very different when it’s your own children. Especially if you’re a dad who has been accused of being a Helicopter Parent…but really is just a dad who intensely cares so much 😜.

In my conversations, when selecting a college to attend, most high school students had at the top of their list things like…
– My peers in high school will be impressed
– I might make the baseball team
– I’d have so much fun at the football games
– It’s far away from my house
– My parents went there
– My parents didn’t go there
– The tour guide who showed us around was so cool
– I like the weather there
– It’s expensive, so it must be better
– I grew up watching the school’s teams on tv
– I hear they have a really good English program
– It feels right
– My friends are going there
– It’ll be easy for me to get into
– I’m tired of this process and need to get it over with already

As we personally transitioned to more of a “Consultant” role in our children’s lives during the “choosing a college” time, Tina and I communicated what we believed truly mattered. That it’s not merely about the superficial attractions, choices of others, or campus charm. What’s truly vital is what God wants.

This is always the determining factor. So, we walked the path alongside them, helping them to discern God’s voice through His Word, their prayers, advice from others, and circumstances. Throughout this time, we asked them to consider these three areas:

1) The people they would be around – because they’d become similar to those they’re spending time with. There’s also the likelihood of these people becoming life-long friends.

2) The place they would be learning from – because this environment would shape their future. Does it nurture a culture that aligns with their values and beliefs? Is it a place where not only academic excellence thrives, but where faith and character are fostered? Is this place the next best step for them and their future.

3) The price of attending – because they need to be wise stewards of what God has entrusted to them. Finances are undoubtedly a concern. We all want the best for our children without burdening them with excessive debt.

As their parents, we had the unique opportunity to guide our children in prayer and reflection, helping them to look for a college that not only educates but also develops character. We wanted them to see that this choice wasn’t just about the next few years. It was about envisioning a future where they would grow into healthy and happy adults.

During these transformative years, I want to encourage you to be your child’s Consultant, their sounding board, their support…and their friend. And as always, for your own health, remain connected to Jesus and others! You’re not alone. God loves you, and so do we.


  • Chris Reed

    Chris married his beautiful bride, Tina, in 1990. They have three wonderful adult children, Jacob, Kaylee, and Macie Joy. Chris began pastoring at a church in Los Angeles in 1995 where he was the Children’s and Student Pastor. He was the Executive Pastor of Student Ministries at John Maxwell's church in South Florida before he came to Saddleback in 2008 as our Pastor to 20s/30s. He has since served as Singles Pastor, Small Groups Pastor, Marriages Pastor, and Parents Pastor. He is currently our Extensions Pastor, leading the charge for Saddleback Church start-ups across the US and world. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies and his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

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