Transitioning to college can be one of those times that makes your faith stronger or distances you from God. Some people may distract themselves by doing a bunch of things + forget about God, or the tough times + changing circumstances my draw them closer to God. Whichever case you may be in + even if you aren’t moving to college for the first time, staying close to God, especially when routines change, is crucial. 

From this post you’ll walk away with 5 ways you can stay close to God + strengthen your relationship with Him in college. Some tips are geared towards first time students + some are more geared for the beginning of the semester, but I hope you find at least one of these tips helpful.

Trust me when I say your relationship with God is more crucial at this time, now more than ever. This is a time when you really get to choose if you’re gonna follow Him or walk away from your faith. You get to choose your routine. You get to choose when + if you go to church. You get to choose your friends, etc. You no longer have your parents making decisions for you so it’s truly a time to make your faith your own + seek Him for yourself. 

Plus, it’s also a time when you really need to lean into God.  Moving to a new place, not knowing may people, going to a new school + being more independent can be scary. These times of uncertainty should draw us closer to God because He can provide us with peace, comfort + wisdom that only comes from Him, that we are longing for. Our walk with God will not always be easy, but consistently staying in His word, praying + turning to Him will help us maintain that connection with Him.

So here are 5 ways you can stay close to God as you go off to college:

make quiet time a priority

Be sure your time with God is a part of your routine. Personally I have found doing it first thing in the morning is the best for me, even if it means setting my alarm early. I was blessed with a large closet last year so I would go in there + do my devos, but honestly just find a place that works for you– that may be on your bed or couch or closet or outside.

If first thing in the morning isn’t best for you, another time I enjoyed doing it was right after my classes, before I got started working on homework (as long as your classes aren’t too late).  I found it was the perfect breather before working + a great mid-day reminder of relying on God.

As for what to do during your quiet times, you could definitely read through the Bible. For me I had a Jesus Calling devotional that I did + it was the perfect thing to start my day + time with God. There are tons of great devotional resources, especially from Delight Ministries, if you don’t know where to start. Also, I highly recommend journaling or writing down your prayers in this time too, or at least that’s what works for me. But find a way that you connect with God the best, whether it’s in nature or through worship or something else. This is definitely a time to figure out what works best for you + what helps you connect with God the most.

get plugged into a church

There are plenty of excuses you can make for not going to church…or to just watch church online. I definitely agree that trying out churches is scary + awkward, but that shouldn’t prevent you from going. We need community + fellowship + interaction with other believers– plus, going off campus is nice + you’ll enjoy being around others who aren’t college-aged students or faculty. I’ll be writing a post shortly all about finding a church in college, but definitely don’t hesitate to go + get plugged in. 

Just going to church isn’t enough (in my opinion). When I was looking at churches, I thought: could I see myself serving + getting involved here? Church isn’t meant to serve us, make us feel good or be something to check off of our spiritual list. The Bible talks about how we are the church: an extension of God’s love and the hands + feet of Jesus. Our faith and love for God is also shown through our actions. So keep that in mind with the topic of church. Are you being a consumer or are you actually participating?

get plugged into on campus ministry

Similar to the last suggestion + maybe a bit obvious, I think getting involved in one of your campus’ ministries is crucial, not only for meeting other believers, but for getting spiritually filled. With going to a small Christian school, I don’t have much experience or knowledge about this (although Bible studies + chapels made up for this) so I would not be a great person to talk on this subject, but I do recommend looking into Delight Ministries if your school offers that.

My friends that go to larger schools have talked about how much they enjoy the campus ministries they’re in + have gotten really involved + have made some great friends through them. Others have expressed that it took them a bit to find the right one + it required them choosing the one that wasn’t the most popular or where not all their friends went. But definitely do more than just attend. Try to actually meet people, participate in other events + maybe even serve. 

pray a ton

Girl, there’s a lot of prayer that goes into the whole college experience, if you can’t tell already. Hopefully you’ve gotten direction from God on where to go to school + what your majoring in, but it doesn’t stop there. Praying for the move, praying about your room mate(s), praying for friends, praying about classes, praying about finding a church– there’s just so much to turn to God about + lean on Him for direction. 

I think it’s important to note that when we take a posture of prayer, we’re not asking God to fulfill all our wishes or do the things we want. We’re coming to Him in surrender, asking for His will to be done + through prayer, our perspective is changed as we give our concerns to Him. So keep praying + turning to God with all your concerns and thank Him when you do see Him at work + when He answers prayers. But also don’t be afraid to ask others to pray for you + pray for others.

have someone keep you accountable 

Accountability is really important, especially if you’re struggling in your walk with Christ or are concerned as you go off to college. Ask someone, like a close friend, parent or mentor, to keep you accountable in spending time with God + other things of that sort. Hopefully them checking in on you + asking you how things are going can provide you with encouragement + motivation to help you in your relationship with Christ and maybe you can do the same for them. Being vocal about what you’re going through + not doing life alone is important, especially when you’re in college.

Some other ideas are:

-make a friend in college who can mentor you (like an older student or bible study leader) who can support you + answer your questions in a godly way

-listen to podcasts/ sermons/ worship music as you exercise, drive or do other things

-if you like to read + don’t have too much reading for school work, reading a Christian book is a great way to relax or finish up your night. I just finished Everybody Always + I highly recommend it. 

*Don’t forget to keep track of all the ways you’ve seen God at work + share it with your friends + family back at home. You will definitely want to remember, especially when times get tough.

Maintaining our relationship with God is hard enough on its own, but transitioning off to college can make it even harder. First of all, props to you for noticing it– that is the first step. But now it’s time to take action!

Hopefully you can leave this post with some ideas in your back pocket to help you whenever the time comes! But please know that your relationship with God is a journey– it’s not always smooth sailing. Sometimes we have to give ourselves grace in order to fully except the grace + love God has for us. 

If you have any other ideas for staying close to God as you go off to college, please be sure to comment it so that it can help other readers. And if you have any questions relating to faith in college, please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

Love, Ainsley