Transitions to college—Tips for parents and students- Part 3

Making the transition to college an easy one for students and parents.

For most college freshman, they have been in college for over a month.  The transition from the comfortable stability of living at home and high school to college life has probably not been an easy one for both parents and students.  According to the Department of Education, only 59 percent of freshmen attending a 4-year university actually graduate. Michigan State University Extension says it is essential for parents to understand the challenges of transition from not only their students’ perspective, but also from their own, so that they can help provide the proper support.

Transition to College: Separation and Change for Parents and Students, a The New York University Child Study Center article, highlights the impacts and challenges a student moving to college has on parents and on the student themselves.  The last of this three part series by MSU Extension will focus on how parents and students can work together in their new relationship to make the transition, for everyone, more successful.

As students and parents “try on” and own this new relationship, there will be ups and downs.  Giving up control and moving into a more guiding type of relationship is hard for parents to deal with, and practice often times from afar.  On the flip side, it is hard for students to balance their new found freedom with the need that they may have for their parents to give them the answers in daily life.  Soon enough, parents and students will reach that point where they understand and can effectively exercise their new roles.

The key to sustaining a close relationship is to stay connected.  Talking about ways to stay involved in each other’s lives is helpful. Additionally, parents and families visiting school and students going home should be encouraged in healthy amounts.  Lastly, remember that the little things do count—sending cards and emails, care packages sent to school, and sharing pictures of missed events are good ways to stay connected through the distance.

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