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Making School Transitions Positive

college students

The College Transition

Kathleen A. Olson, Program Director — Partnering for School Success

2009. Reviewed January 2016 by author.

Your child may be leaving for college or that first apartment to start a new job. Things in your family will be different from that point forward, perhaps even difficult. This can be a big transition for families.

Parents can take the lead to help with the transition by acknowledging that home life will be different. So what should parents expect to prepare for in the transition?

For some families, a child leaving home comes easily, but for others it is stressful and creates some conflict. As much as you hope you have prepared your teen, the reality is that some lessons are only gained by leaving home. Parents play a significant and active role in facilitating the transition and preparing for a child to leave home. However, this takes planning, whether your child is heading off across the country to college or to an apartment across town.

Sources

Gray, R., Vitak J., Easton E. W., Ellison N. B. (2013). Examining social adjustment to college in the age of social media: Factors influencing successful transitions and persistence. Computers & Education, 67, 193-207.

Mounts, N. S. (2004). Contributions of parenting and campus climate to freshmen adjustment in a multiethnic sample. Journal of Adolescent Research, 19(4), 468-491.

Mounts, N. S., Valentiner, D. P., Anderson, K. L., & Boswell, M. K. (2006). Shyness, sociability, and parental support for the college transition: Relation to adolescents’ adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(1), 68-77.

Sarigiani, P., Trumbell, J., Camarena, P. (2013). Electronic Communications Technologies and the Transition to College: Links to Parent-Child Attachment and Adjustment. Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 25(1), 35-60.

Related Resources

Applying for College? — Learn about the application process so you can support your child in this process. English | español

Financially Speaking: College Student to Self-Sufficient Adult — Five financial parenting strategies that help your student learn to make better financial choices.

Transitioning From High School to College With A Psychiatric Illness: PreparationAmerican Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry — Explore these important questions and consideration for college life if your teen has mental health issues.

Managing Your College Life: Your Money — Your Housing — Your Time — Online presentation and related resources that help students better manage and survive their first years of college.

Mailing Food Gifts — Types of foods that mail best; tips for wrapping and cushioning foods for mailing.

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