I was excited to sit down to read and review Welcome to College by Jonathan Morrow, unfortunately, that excitement was short-lived. This is the first time I have done a #Bookreview and would not recommend what I read. Normally, I would include a personal giveaway, but to be honest, there are very few high schoolers I would tell, “hey, I think you’ll love this book!” However, there IS a giveaway at the end of this post, so stick around for some gift cards.
Maybe you’ll check out other reviews, read it, and tell me I’m crazy because this book is awesome. The book is good…but I don’t think the title matches its content or target audience.
Anyway, here’s what I discovered.
Right off the bat, I noticed how thick it is! I flipped it open and found the text was fairly small, which means the book is even longer than it looks. In fact, it’s a whopping 43 chapters! I’ve worked with youth for over ten years and I can think of only a couple of youth who would have been interested or even had the time to read this book.
The second thing I noticed was how little it actually had to do with making the transition from high school to college as a Christian. The first 26 chapters covered topics like Getting Theological: Knowing and Loving God, How to Read the Bible, Can I Trust the Bible, and Think Christianly: Cultivating a Christian Worldview. Don’t get me wrong, these are excellent topics, but If I am giving this book to a senior in high school to help them transition to college, then chop these chapters out and include them in a different book completely. Plus, holy cow, does this read like a textbook! They will have plenty of time to dig into textbooks at college.
Lastly, if Welcome to College is marketed as “A Christ-follower’s guide for the journey,” what is the purpose of the first half of the book anyway? It would make more sense, to focus on how to live out your faith in college and the challenges you may face in order to do so, rather than spend half the book on fundamental Christian beliefs. Again, they are great chapters and they would make for great small group discussions in high school as they grow in the faith, but I picked up this book to help a Christian senior navigate college.
However, I could see using this book in youth ministry by splitting it up. Start in 11th grade and utilize the first half, then read through the second half during their 12th-grade year. You might try and cram the entire book during their last year of high school, but with 43 chapters, that may be a challenge, even if the chapters aren’t very long.
Before I sat down to write my review, I decided to present this book along with another book to my high school youth and ask them to each read two chapters of each (the chapters were on the same topic). I didn’t say anything about either book, simply asked them to read the chapters and give me their honest feedback. Here is how they responded:
They’re both good, but I won’t read that one [Welcome to College], it’s like a textbook.
I like this one because it’s just easier to read [College 101], plus it actually has something to do with college, the other one [Welcome to College], kinda does, but not really.
Yeah, I have enough textbooks, I’d rather read College 101.
Can I borrow this one? [College 101]
What does this have to do with being in college? [Welcome to College]
I could see us using it for Bible study or something, but I won’t sit and read it. [Welcome to College]
Before you write these youth off, they are hard workers, in school and out, and most are avid readers; of course, avidly reading a book for enjoyment, is different than picking up a textbook. Their faith is strong and they are devoted to Christ. I certainly appreciate their honest responses.
Bottom line, I think Welcome to College is very well written and researched. I will probably utilize many chapters and the discussion questions included in Appendix D. It also includes a Bible reading plan for your first semester of college which I think is a wonderful idea. However, if I am giving a book to a senior to help them navigate college, I would much rather gift them College 101: Campus Life for Christians from Concordia Publishing House.
All that being said, visit LitFuse for a chance to win a Welcome to College Survival Pack with some amazing prizes. Hurry! The giveaway ends on April 11.
One grand prize winner will receive:
- One copy of Welcome to College
- One $50 Target gift card
- One $25 Amazon gift card
- One $25 Starbucks gift card
I received this book in exchange for my honest review. Definitely a 3 out of 5 stars.