College Transition Project

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Mon, 01/01/2007
End Date: 
Fri, 12/31/2010

Despite an increasing awareness of the importance of maintaining effective high school programs, approximately 40-50% of youth group graduates drift from the faith and the church after high school. The Fuller Youth Institute’s (FYI) four-year College Transition Project (CTP) has sought to identify characteristics of high school ministries and families that correlate both positively and negatively with successful spiritual and relational transitions in the college years. This research phase was accomplished through longitudinal interviews conducted with 200 high school seniors through their first three years of college, seeking both quantitative and qualitative data on factors that influence students’ spiritual and relational transition during the college years. Highlights of the research findings include the importance of intergenerational relationships, the significant role of parents in their children’s spiritual development, and the importance of a faith grounded in grace instead of behavioralism. The CTP project team, including several Fuller faculty and doctoral students, has taken this research and used it to formulate practical strategies and accessible resources for church and parachurch youth workers as well as parents who wish to help high school students make a stronger spiritual transition into college. This dissemination process has culminated in FYI’s popular Sticky Faith resources (, multiple Sticky Faith books, @stickyfaith on twitter). By gaining a better understanding of these characteristics, youth ministry leaders, churches and parents are better empowered to set high school graduates on a lifelong trajectory of vital faith and service.