Is “College Prep” Enough?

What kind of academic and career opportunities will be available to my LCS student upon graduation? Will the LCS high school program prepare them for the college of their choice? Will they be ready for the transitions that will face them upon graduation?

Parents and students are increasingly anxious these days about some of these questions. If this anxiety is coupled with a lack of information and/or the presence of misinformation the picture gets increasingly concerning.

Here are a few facts to keep in mind when considering these questions:

In the last four years:

  •  LCS graduates have enrolled in these Florida state universities: University of Florida (24), Florida State University (40), University of Central Florida (9), University of North Florida (9), University of South Florida (15), Florida Polytechnic University (6), Florida Gulf Coast University (3), Florida Atlantic University (4) and University of West Florida (1). Note: additional grads were accepted at these universities but chose to enroll elsewhere.
  •  Auburn University had the highest number (11) of LCS grads entering an out-of-state university.
  • Other LCS grads were currently enrolled or recently graduated from Cornell University, Rutgers University, Clemson University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of Oklahoma, University of Mississippi, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee, Florida International University, St. John’s University, Stetson University, Tulane University, Howard University, University of Alabama, Davidson University, Purdue University,  University of Miami, Furman University, Williams College, Wittenberg University, Otterbein University,  and many more.
  • 18% of LCS graduates have chosen to pursue Christian college for their higher education have studied at Covenant College, Cedarville University, Erskine College, Anderson University, Samford University, Spring Arbor University, Grove City College, Warner University, Geneva College, Lee University, Southeastern University and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
  • 27% have opted for colleges in the Lakeland area (Southeastern University, Florida Southern College, Polk State College, Florida Polytechnic University).
  • LCS grads have studied successfully in a wide range of graduate schools including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of California Berkley, University of Southern California, University of Illinois, the major state universities in Florida, and a variety of law, dental, and medical schools across the country.
  • Some LCS alumni have chosen a military career. At least one grad is an Army Ranger, and one is training to be a Navy SEAL.  A number have become fighter pilots or flown combat helicopters. Others have filled various support roles including high tech positions involving drone warfare.
  • Although most LCS alums pursue college studies, some have become successful in various trades and in business. I’ve called on a number of these folks over the years for great service with exemplary integrity.
  • Some graduates have opted for a gap year of ministry and/or community service engagement before moving on to their next endeavor.

But is knowledge enough?

Most of us know of students who were prepared academically for higher education, but who suffered from a lack of wisdom that hampered their level of success in college. What often separates the successful college student from those who lose their way is the presence of wisdom. What do we do in this critical area of preparation?

“Wisdom prep” to complement college prep

Intentional “wisdom prep” initiatives at LCS include:

  • The annual two-day Senior Seminar that focuses on preparation for life on campus and beyond is an important part of “wisdom prep” for our seniors. Continual input from recent grads on college campuses is utilized to shape the program each spring.
  • The Relationship Education team provides our secondary students with counsel on navigating relationships as well as some of the emotional challenges they face.
  • We are working to integrate biblical principles regarding money in high school Bible courses.
  • Daily Bible classes in K4-12 provide every LCS student with biblical knowledge and applied wisdom from the Word.
  • Devotional times in homeroom, with athletic teams and other activity groups and countless conversations between students and teachers facilitate life on life mentoring that extends far beyond the GPA.
  • Weekly chapel times provide a variety of formats to impart biblical truth and its application to life at age-appropriate levels.

Self-discipline is one evidence of wisdom. This character trait is demonstrated in a student’s ability to manage time, fulfill responsibilities well and on time, and select friends wisely. These life skills often have more influence on college success than their level of knowledge. Students, parents, teachers, and coaches can work together to help our students grow in these practical aspects of wisdom in preparation for the transition to college and career.

Both/and not either/or

Educational institutions that focus only on the preparation of the intellect and neglect the foundation of biblical wisdom leave the student vulnerable. At LCS, we are endeavoring to instill the academic skills and knowledge base that will equip our students for their next stage in life. The opportunities in higher education that are accessible to our graduates confirm success in this area. But intellectual preparation for college is not enough. Without a foundation in wisdom, students can find themselves adrift.

Let’s resolve to keep our focus beyond “college prep” to “life prep” by making godly wisdom a priority in raising up the next generation!

Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…”