Are Students Losing Their Religion on Campus?

Colclasure says he's still learning a lot about his faith. "I've just been learning more just about the freedom of the Gospel, and realizing you're not perfect and that no one expects you to be perfect."

"It's hard maintaining a Christian relationship within the context of a college," Parrish said. "But we learn from our struggles and from our temptations and from our mess-ups and every time we fall we get back up and we know we are given a second chance."

And parents should realize that their kids' struggles can often strengthen their faith. "I know that in my walk with the Lord, I needed those struggles," Parrish said. "And those, those times when I was the lowest in the middle of my freshman year, like, those are so imperative to who I am now."

What Can Parents Do?

So when kids stumble, how can parents help? Many experts say it's important to let them make mistakes so they can find their own spiritual path.

"Good Morning America" parenting expert Anne Pleshette Murphy said that parents shouldn't despair -- the UCLA study also found that 76 percent of college undergraduates want to have a spiritual life.

Murphy suggested the following tips for talking to college kids about religion:

Start slowly. Suggest that your child attend one organized religious service a week, or even attend a Bible class in a friend's dorm room. If that doesn't feel right, suggest a youth group, yoga class, meditation tape or even community service -- anything that might be nourishing for the soul. Most schools have volunteer community outreach programs that aren't necessarily religion based.

Study other religions. Most colleges offer religious studies classes; some even have an affiliated divinity school. Encourage your child to take a course in comparative religions or even attend an alternative service.

Share your own struggles with your faith. Talk about challenges you've faced, share examples of kindness and compassion, use e-mail to send passages from the book of your faith, or share stories. But don't expect -- or demand -- a reply.

For more information on spirituality on campus, visit www.beliefnet.com.

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