Preparing Your Student for Secular College

Education Spotlight

on April 1, 2009; last featured August 7, 2011

With the economy in recession and the cost of college tuition outpacing inflation, many Christian parents may have to consider public universities for their children. If your family is looking at public higher education, you need to prepare your children for what they will face there.

First, they must expect their faith and values to be mocked—in both the classroom and campus culture. Not every professor will openly mock Christianity, but expect your child to encounter some who are hostile to Christians. Second, expect your child to be thoroughly indoctrinated in evolution. Third, do not expect freedom of speech on campus—unless the speech is politically correct. Finally, expect your child to be exposed to all types of immorality, including alcohol and drug abuse, and sexual immorality.

Your children must be prepared before they enter a public university. So, how can you help them do this?

  1. Talk with your children before they start school; don’t hide anything from them—let them know exactly what they will face.
  2. Take a tour of the university you’re interested in, but not when the school is marketing itself to new students. Check out the student union, bookstore, academic buildings, and dorms; and take note of the signs on display.
  3. If your children must live on campus, find a university with gender-segregated dorms, especially if you are sending daughters away to school.
  4. Seek out Christian organizations on campus, and steer your children toward these groups.
  5. Understand that the university may give parents one message, and students another. Attend Freshman Orientation with your children; if the university does not permit this, see this as a red flag that something is amiss.
  6. Realize that the university is ultimately a business, subject to the laws of supply and demand. If parents are the primary bill payers, then they are the university’s customer. If the university is not providing a satisfactory product to you, then take your business elsewhere.
  7. Read the book Fish Out of Water: Surviving and Thriving as a Christian on a Secular Campus, by Abby Nye. This is a great resource to prepare both parents and students for public university. (Available at

Your children can successfully attend public university and finish with their faith intact, if you take the time to prepare them while they are still living in your home.

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