Beliefnet
It's that time of year again. High school and college seniors arepreparing to march to "Pomp and Circumstance" and collect theirhard-earned degrees, sending relatives, friends and even churches insearch of the perfect graduation gift. Those who want to do more thanjust whip out the checkbook often head to the bookstore, where thisyear they will find several titles aimed at helping the college-boundor college-finished to keep their faith in the face of lots of lifechange. Most are priced to encourage group buying by churches,synagogues, schools or youth groups.

For Christian teenagers leaving the security of family and their homechurch for the first time, a little guidance about how to "live faithon campus" is offered in God Goes to College (Upper Room Books)by Emory University campus chaplains Helen Neinast and ThomasEttinger, both United Methodist ministers. "Their message is that it'sOK okay to question at this time in your life, that college is a timeto explore both academically and spiritually," said editor RobinPippin. "But while you're exploring and asking questions, hold on toGod, because God holds on to you."

While Upper Room aims its advice at Protestant college students, thepublishing arm of Reform Judaism has its sights on non-Oorthodox Jewsgoing off to the world of academia. Jewish U: A Contemporary Guidefor the Jewish College Student (UAHC) is written in anon-preachy tone by Rabbi Scott Aaron. "He takes a realistic look atwho college students are, saying there are lots of ways to live aJewish life on campus," editorial director Rabbi Hara Person toldBookLine.

Those who have "been there, done that" dish out the real dirt aboutcollege in Letters from Campus: College Girls' Insights for HighSchool Graduates (New Hope). Author Donna Margaret Greene hasguided generations of young women through the transition to college,as the founder and director of Community Ministry for Girls inBirmingham, Alabama. She compiled the letters of 72 girls from 24universities on subjects ranging from nurturing friendships todefending the Christian faith. Although Greene adds her observations,"the book is very much in the voice of the college girls," says editorRebecca England.

Finally, for those who have completed their baccalaureate degrees andare facing life in the "real world," there's If Jesus Were a Senior:Last-Minute Preparations for Postcollege Life (Westminster John Knox) by noted youth leader Bruce Main, who also pictured the Christas an underclassman in "If Jesus Were a Sophomore: Discipleship forCollege Students" (WJK, 2001). The newer book imagines how Jesus mighthave used his final years of college if he had been the Big Man onCampus.

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