One of the biggest decisions you will make as a parent is where and how you will send your child to college. Secular universities almost always teach an unbiblical worldview and open youth up to a world of thrills and danger they may not be prepared for. A whole new circle of influencers—professors and friends—is waiting to influence them in profound ways.

We cannot forever shield our children from the dangers of the world. Even if you have raised your child in the ways of the Lord, they are entering a world where your influence is diminished and new influencers are waiting to steer them away from God and you. Studies show that up to 80% of Christian youth will walk away from their faith once they go off to college.

The best prevention is the first 18 years when you have direct influence over your children. Help them become deeply grounded in their faith and skeptical of what the world seeks to teach them. Help them understand that the enemy has deeply influenced secular universities and that a majority of people they meet as friends will not share a Christian worldview. Help them to prepare to be “in the world, but not of the world”.

If you can afford to send them to a Christian College, do so but be aware not every college that calls itself “Christian” teaches a biblical worldview. Help them get connected with a solid Christian Campus Ministry like CREW or Athletes in Action. Encourage them to find a group of solid Christian students dedicated to prayer and Bible study.

Keep solid lines of communication open with your children. Monitor their grades, looking for slippage. Look for changes in attitude and lovingly challenge and rebuke if necessary. If you have financial leverage, and they start to stray, do not shy from using positive pressure.

The first years away from home are often “make or break” regarding your child’s faith and the life they will lead. Stay connected; challenge them; love them—but continue to hold them accountable.