Transition to College: Tips and Resources
First, I’d like to congratulate the graduating high school seniors. For those attending college in the fall, the transition is often filled with excitement and fun. However, it can also be a stressful process for students, parents, and siblings as it’s typically a time associated with lots of change.
For students, it’s common to experience a dramatic shift from the high school experience in relation to academic, social, and residential changes. Responsibilities become increasingly challenging as well as creating an academic work – lifestyle balance. These transitional changes can also impact relationships with parents and siblings. Fortunately, there are many campus resources for you to access.
In addition to my private practice, I’ve worked as a psychologist on college campuses for over 10 years, in roles that include staff counselor, Coordinator of Alcohol & Other Drug Services, and Associate Director. It’s critical that students and parents are aware of the resources available to them on their campuses and how to access them. These services can be most beneficial in assisting students throughout their college experience. Generally these resources are reviewed in orientation and can be located on the college website. Below are some of the many reasons students seek out counseling services followed by a list of self-care tips for students.
Some Presenting Concerns:
Academic (test anxiety, conflict with professors, organization)
Sleep difficulties (too much, too little)
Emotional (anxiety & depression)
Psychological Crisis (suicidal thoughts)
Alcohol/Drug (use, abuse, dependence)
Adjustment/Grief (college transition, loss)
Relationships (breakups, roommate conflict, concern about friends’ behavior)
Sexuality (questioning, coming out)
Sports Psychology/Peak Performance (pre-game anxiety, coping with injury)
Sleep: Try to be consistent
Turn off computers, cell phones, TV
Exercise: Regular exercise, 3 times per week, at least 30 minutes/session
Eating/Nutrition: Minimize caffeine intake, especially after 5:00 pm
Socialize: Join clubs
Try stepping out of your comfort zone
Time Management: Use a planner, calendar
Schedule social activities
Schedule your week on Sundays
Alcohol/Other Drugs: Awareness of risks
Minimize use of alcohol
Careful of overgeneralizing (“Everybody does it...”)
Campus Resources: Counseling & Health Centers
Dean of Student’s Office
Facebook/Twitter: Consider your content!
November & April: Don’t wait until the end of the semesters to reach out to campus resources!
Finally, best of luck to students and parents during this process and enjoy a healthy, safe summer!
Joel Ingersoll, Ph.D.
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