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Derek Melleby, Director of the College Transition Initiative

Derek_Melleby.jpgMy son Jacob recently turned 4 and can be a little dramatic. I don′t know where he gets it. He′s also learning new words and putting them together in his own unique sentences. A few weeks ago he was crawling behind me with his head down and eyes closed. I was facing the other direction when I suddenly felt a sharp pain. Jacob had slammed his forehead into my lower back. Rubbing his head, Jacob looked up at me and said with a smile, "I bumped into a world I didn′t know before!"

I have no idea where he came up with that phrase, but it′s a good one! It is the perfect way to describe why I am passionate about what I do as the Director of the College Transition Initiative, a ministry of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding (CPYU) and the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO). The transition from high school to college is one of the most important transitions in a young person's life. Each year, if students aren't adequately prepared, they oftentimes "bump into a world they didn′t know before." Fuller Theological Seminary recently conducted research on the challenges students face transitioning to college. After four years of interviewing high school and college students about faith, here′s what the research revealed:

"Only one in seven high school seniors report feeling prepared to face the challenges of college life. Few students seem ready for the intensity of the college experience and the perfect storm of loneliness, the search for new friends, being completely on their own for the first time, and the sudden availability of a lot of partying. One pervasive struggle for college students is finding a new church, as evident by the 40 percent of college freshmen who report difficulty doing so. Young believers' need for greater preparation is heightened by the powerful influence of their initial post-high school decisions. Young people retrospectively report that the first two weeks of their college freshman year set the trajectory for their remaining years in school." (Learn more about this important research at

"Campus programs at CCCU schools are designed to support Christian principles, and students are exposed to chapel and other worship experiences as well as a full integration of faith and learning in the classroom. Perhaps most importantly, students spend these critical years of transition living in a community of believers that endorses and strengthens Christian values."
-Dr. Kenneth Smith president of Geneva College in "Worth The Price: The value of a Christian Education"

Geneva College partners with the CPYU and CCO to encourage students to live out their faith intentionally before, during and after college. Teams of people at Geneva are prepared to minister to students, supporting and challenging them to live out their faith in all areas of life. Students have the opportunity to attend the annual CCO Jubilee conference, participate in Quest trips, explore God′s Word together and much more.

My work through the College Transition Initiative addresses one of these areas by providing resources for students and parents before they step foot on campus. It is my desire to see more and more students prepared spiritually for the challenges they will encounter. While a student in Geneva College′s Master′s in Higher Education program, I developed a vision for what college should be. For followers of Jesus, college should be about developing our minds, discovering our gifts and discerning our callings in life. It is a privilege to share this "Geneva-shaped" vision with students and parents in my seminars and writing.

Upcoming Events

August 4 - Live.Serve.Lead.2012 student leadership training

September 4 & 5 - Dr. Ed Welch, counselor and faculty member at Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation

September 12 - Christopher Yuan, co-author of Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son′s Journey to God. A Broken Mother′s Search for Hope.

November 14 - Dr David Thompson ′69, medical doctor and missionary

June 2012


"It was encouraging and invigorating to see intelligent academia that is so serious about faith." -Ethan Joseph, biology major
Read Ethan's Profile

Worth the Price: The True Value of a Christian College Education

To read the article "Worth the Price: The True Value of a Christian College Education" with a message by Geneva's president, Dr. Ken Smith, click here.

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June 2012

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3200 College Ave.
Beaver Falls, PA 15010