College is an exciting time for students! It includes many life transitions. College provides students with opportunities for growth and change. It can be helpful for parents to understand what their student may be experiencing as they adjust to their new college environment. Listed below are some of the changes and expectations your student may experience:

  • Increased personal freedom and responsibility.
  • Discovering different kinds of academic strategies needed for success.
  • Greater levels of difficulty with academic demands.
  • The greater complexity of time-management responsibilities.
  • A difference in racial and cultural diversity than what was experienced in your home community.
  • A greater range of values and morals in college than in your home community.
  • Changing relationships with family members and friends from home.

Keep this in mind: Struggling is not a sign of weakness or failure. In fact, struggling is usually the first phase of developing a new strength or strategy for success and wisdom. Below are some helpful hints to consider as your student adjusts to college life:

  • Encourage your student to reach out to others and build relationships.
  • Encourage your student to stay up-to-date on how to use campus resources to support their wellbeing, including Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Center, and the Student Recreation Complex.
  • Explore the many activities and organizations that your student can join.
  • Remind your student that it’s okay and normal to adjust expectations if things are not working out as planned.
  • Encourage your student to make use of the services and resources that assist them in staying on track academically, including the Academic Success Center and Learning Commons.
  • If living in on-campus housing, getting to know their resident advisors (RA’s), support services, and perks offered.
  • Encouraging your student to be open to receiving support from a counselor (therapist) at Counseling And Psychological Services. CAPS can be a benefit to your student’s mental health. Whether your student’s struggle is something they’ve been facing since before attending college or a new challenge, meeting with a therapist can be an effective way of getting through a difficult time and continuing toward a successful college experience.

Updated: August 11, 2023