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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.


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.

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