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Typical Transitional Adjustments


Reactions When Students Enter College

Most parents experience:

  • Adventurous feelings
  • Sense of loneliness
  • An openness to change
  • Independence
  • Depression

Adjustments, Concerns, and Transitions

Most parents are:

  • Having more free time
  • Responsible for fewer people at home
  • Re-establishing their own personal identity
  • Having separation anxiety from their student
  • Trying to fill a void
  • Relinquishing control
  • Adjusting to being left out of their student’s daily activities and decisions
  • Understanding that their student may not need as much help as before
  • Concerned of how their student will ascertain his/her independence
  • Realizing the student will be exploring new social and academic opportunities

Adjustment and Establishing New Relations

Most parents need to:

  • Encourage students to trust themselves by providing support and freedom
  • Promote students to establish new relationships and explore opportunities
  • Develop new interests of their own
  • Trust the student to function as a successful young adult
  • Guide rather than pressure their student
  • Allow for mistakes while understanding there will be ups and downs
  • Determine appropriate expectations and guidelines while being explicit
  • Offer advice when asked and listen
  • Support student’s own problem solving skills rather than rushing to solve the problem for them
  • Realize the student’s life is his/her own
  • Acknowledge and accept student’s limits and strengths
  • Expect change
  • Occasionally call, visit, and write



Common Reactions When Entering College

Most students experience:

  • Stress
  • Enthusiasm
  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Excitement

Adjustments, Concerns, and Transitions

Most students are:

  • Trying to assert independence
  • Developing an identity on campus
  • Adjusting to living away from home
  • Discovering new social and educational opportunities
  • Concerned over academic success and choosing a major
  • Trying to understand the fundamentals of college
  • Dealing with separation from family and friends
  • Trying to understand the balance between socializing and academics
  • Establishing new relationships with roommates, peers, and parents

Adjustment and Establishing New Relations

Most students need to:

  • Be patient and understand adjustment takes time
  • Give parents time to realize you are becoming an adult
  • Understand your parents are also having similar life experiences and must adjust to this new situation
  • Seek encouragement and support from family and friends
  • Explore interests, places, and meet new people
  • Get involved in academic, social, and/or volunteer related activities
  • Expect ups and downs as you try to become more independent
  • Communicate openly and stay connected to your parents
  • Recognize you must develop a balance between academics, recreation, and work
  • Know when you need to ask for help