College Board CEO on the 6 Essential Values for Flourishing College Students

by Dr. Barry Shealy, FPD Assistant Headmaster

Recently, I heard David Coleman, CEO of the College Board, speak to a group of Christian school leaders. Coleman said that education is “soul craft” and shared his perspective on the advantages of religious schooling. Here are six values essential for students’ flourishing that he sees in graduates of Christ-centered schools like FPD.

Productive Solitude

One value, according to Coleman, is productive solitude. Our students benefit from cultivating reflection, concentration, and prayer (Isaiah 26:3).

I tell my students that they sometimes need to simply stare at their work – think about what they are doing. Reflection on why things work and what they mean is important. Likewise, the first piece of advice I give my students as they head to college is to care for their spiritual health and remember the power of prayer.

Grace and Gratitude

Coleman also said that college admission officers have told him the attitude most missing in applicants is a sense of gratitude. At FPD, our whole educational program is based on recognition of God’s gift of grace and our responsibility considering that gift.

Restful Excellence

Schools like FPD both challenge students to excellence and provide them the tools to overcome anxiety in life. The foundation for this value is trusting the God is in control and supports his people in every situation (Romans 8:28). FPD’s faculty and staff are also committed to helping students balance school and home, make appropriate decisions that fit their interests and abilities, and find outlets for recreation and fun.

Relationship with Mentors

In our surveys, parents say FPD’s greatest strength is our people. We recruit highly qualified professionals who are have a missional focus on young people. Students spend a great deal of time at school and in school-related activities, especially during their teen years.

Coleman recognizes that providing relationships with mentors is another important characteristic of schools like FPD. This is explicitly part of our core educational values. I know my own four sons greatly benefited from the adult relationships they established while at FPD.

Activity Outside of School

Our students are involved in a wide variety of activities that engage others outside of school. These activities include the arts, academics, sports, and service. Students put to practice the values and abilities they have developed in ways that allow them to develop leadership skills, self-awareness, and empathy with other. This desire to be involved outside of school and in their communities continues into their college years

Devotion to Ideas

All that we do at FPD grows out of core ideas – the foundation of which is God’s grace. We share and develop these ideas in our students so that they can understand, respond to, and impact the community and world in ways that glorify God.


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