Alex Lambert did not know that he would need to learn to budget money, time, academics and a social life when he goes to college in two years. He also did not realize that picking the right school was going to take time, effort and research.
In January, 15-year-old Lambert and other high school sophomores, juniors and their parents attended "College Conversations: Straight Talk and Wise Advice" night at Hinsdale (Ill.) United Methodist Church. A panel of students from a state university and two private, non-profit schools offered advice as to what incoming freshmen should expect when they begin college.
"Parents and their children go through stress about SATs and college preparations," Cheryl Francis said. She is a Hinsdale member and former college trustee, who moderated the discussion. "The conversation was focused on lowering the stress barometer for parents and teens."
"It was extremely helpful to hear about how and when to submit applications, taking quizzes and making new contacts at school," said Lisa Lambert, Alex's mother. "We got a good representation from a different mix of schools as each student has different needs."
The college students also spoke about experiences outside the classroom, such as making adjustments when entering a new school, combating homesickness, adjusting to dorm life with a new roommate, balancing social activities while working for good grades and connecting with other students.
The college information session was part of the Families and Faith ministry at Hinsdale. Francis said the church is always striving to find different ways to connect and reach out to families with young and older children.
"We are focused on family and growth," she said.
Christine Kumar is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, Md.
AT A GLANCE Hinsdale United Methodist Church | 945 S. Garfield St., Hinsdale, IL 60521 | (630) 325-1280 | [email protected] | www.hinsdaleumc.com | Senior pastor: Rev. Carol Brown | Average worship attendance: 150 | Northern Illinois Conference