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Review: Thriving at College by Alex Chediak


“I pray,” writes Alex Chediak in Thriving at College, “…that by God’s grace my life and this book will be used of God in some small way to help Christians

  • thrive at college,
  • maximize their God-given potential,
  • embrace full-orbed adulthood,
  • faithfully develop their talents, and
  • take their places as salt and light in God’s world,

living for a cause far greater than themselves.” [formatting added]

In a chatty style, Chediak tells students things he wished someone had told him years ago, things that will make a huge difference during their college years, during the rest of their lives, and even for eternity.

College should be a launching pad for adult life and service, not a self-indulgent—and life-destroying—party.  Thriving at College:  Make great friends, keep your faith, and get ready for the real world! discusses ten common mistakes students make, showing both the problem and a practical response, summarized in italics.

  1. Chucking Your Faith … Grow Closer to God
  2. Treating College as if It Were High School … Maintain Healthy Habits and Boundaries
  3. Not Being Intentional … Find Great Friends and Mentors
  4. Distorting Dating and Romance … Attract the Right Kind of Person
  5. Refusing to Grow Up … Become Independent of Mom and Dad
  6. Being a Flake … Keep Your Commitments
  7. Living Out of Balance … Balance Work and Play
  8. Being Too Passive or Too Cocky … Wisely Select a Major
  9. Living for Grades … Recognize that Growth Requires Change
  10. Wasting Opportunities … Use Your Downtime Wisely

Each chapter is full of realistic, Biblical ideas immediately applicable to college life.  It also includes helpful questions for personal or small group study and a concluding summary of the chapter, as well as many interesting factoids and questions and answers.

With wisdom and humility, Chediak discusses other issues facing students:

  • How should one make major decisions? How can one know God’s will? Chediak clearly explains the concept of amoral decisions, that is, decisions that are neither right nor wrong.  Using common sense and guidance from respected adults, just make a decision; do not agonize over the options if neither one nor the other is wrong.  For example, every legitimate major and profession done for God’s glory brings him honor and accomplishes his purposes.
  • Is it more spiritual to discuss the Bible and spiritual topics than to diligently do ones work? You’re at college to get a strong foundation for your life’s work; that glorifies God, and if you feel called to campus ministry, you can come back to it later.
  • What about young women who are at college to find a husband? Chediak points out that, while there is nothing wrong with their goal, they should also be seriously busy developing the skills and talents God gave them. God can use a great college education in the home as well as out of it.  (As an aside, Chediak is obviously proudly of his Stanford-educated wife, now a stay-at-home mom.)
  • What about extra-curricular activities, jobs, over-commitment, and finances? We are accountable to God for our use of time and money, and Chediak discusses various aspects of this principle.

Other than the Bible, I have never read a better book for Christian students.   Chediak clearly voices the conclusions I’ve come to in my many years of learning and teaching at universities.  If every Christian student read and applied this book, the world would be so different in a decade!  Highly recommended.

As Alex and Brett Harris (of TheRebelution.com and Do Hard Things) say, “There’s no better guide to college than this.”

You can preview the book here.  Please do so and then encourage young Christians to read it.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Thriving At College from Tyndale in order to give you my honest opinion of it.

Please visit the Carnival of Homeschooling for more inspiration.

This is my 31st book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.


  1. Lisa says:

    Sounds like a wonderful, and much needed book! 🙂 My oldest is in 8th this year, but it is still something I think about often. Sending kids to college today is literally like throwing them to the wolves. I pray that a book like this will help!

    Many blessings,

  2. […] homeschooling mom with 5 kids, and (get this) a Ph.D. in physics, reviews Thriving at College. Her conclusion: Other than the Bible, I have never read a better book for Christian students.   Chediak clearly […]

  3. Christine says:

    This book would be a great blessing when my children get closer to heading off for college. I have often wondered how I can equip my children for the many challenges they will face when they leave home. I know that I am trying to teach them values every day that they will carry with them, I just often wonder . . . is it enough?

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