Four Skills For A Successful Transition to College

College is stressful. In just a short period of time, a student is expected to:

• Live on their own
• Make their own choices
• Attain a degree in a field they’ve set their sights on

If learning in a new environment and taking challenging courses wasn’t hard enough, there’s also:

• Navigating a new campus
• Choosing study habits
• Working with newfound independence

And that’s all without mentioning the social pressures that your child faces as they enter a new community for the first time!

The events of the past few months haven’t made things any easier, and it’s not hard to understand why so many students feel overwhelmed! Not only is the decision making process of college a massive leap from the high school experience, but the dynamic between remote and in-person classes is all new for everyone. As evidenced by the spring semester, university leaders are just as befuddled as students when it comes to navigating this new era of learning.

During these times, it’s more important than ever to keep an open communication with your child. No, you may not have all the answers (nobody does!), but you can offer them guidance and pass on some tips and tricks to reduce their stress.

Talking To Your Child: What Things Should They Hear?

As they venture into this new stage in their lives, your child will need to take ownership of their choices, and now more than ever they need to be proactive in establishing an outlook that will make their experience a positive one.

When talking to your children about making the transition to higher education, make sure to highlight these four steps:


College is hard, and things won’t always go as planned. That’s okay! Encourage them to keep a positive attitude and understand that if something is truly worth striving for, it will take more than the bare minimum to achieve. College is about trying new things and seeking out new experiences, and when they accept that things won’t always be perfect the first time, they can open themselves up to a new set of opportunities.


We’ve all had a time when we’ve been so overwhelmed by responsibilities that we’ve just sat around and done nothing- the best way for your child to overcome that is to set a fixed schedule and prioritize their goals. This isn’t just limited to schoolwork, as their own mental well-being is also something to keep in mind. Eating, sleeping, drinking water, and exercising at regular times aren’t just important in maintaining their physical and mental health, but it will also teach them to balance their schedule. Don’t let them forget to have fun, too; taking the time to do something that makes them happy each day is important.


Your child is now reaching adulthood, and as scary as that may sound, it’s important that they understand that they alone are responsible for the choices they make and the person they become. While being free of mom or dad’s control may excite them, they need to learn how to be accountable for their own actions and understand that they alone will reap the benefits or consequences of their decisions. Talk to them about the importance of trusting their gut; if a situation feels uncomfortable or doesn’t sit well with the future they imagine for themselves, it isn’t worth pursuing.

College moves very fast, and it’s easy to let the four years fly by without a moment of contemplation. While it may seem like college is just a means to get a degree, your child should be thinking about why they’ve chosen to pursue their profession. What goals do they have in mind? What interests them about their field of study? Does it excite them? What in their life are they grateful for? There are many means of reflection, be it a daily journal or a weekly call to a good friend, but time dedicated to introspection is important as they move forward.

College is challenging, and this semester in particular will no doubt be a difficult one for everyone.

Being adaptable may seem hard, but open communication will help. Different kids choose to express themselves in different ways, but above all else, they should understand that you are both there to help them from afar and that you will always be there when they need your guidance.

1. Always Tired

Determine why your child is tired.

  • Is it because they aren’t getting enough sleep?
  • Are they mismanaging their time and getting to bed very late? 
  • Are they too stressed to fall asleep? 
  • Have they been partying late into the night?

2. Weight Gain or Loss

Find out where, when, and what your child has been eating. 

  • Are they making unhealthy choices or eating late at night?
  • Have they been doing any kind of exercise? 
  • Are they becoming too concerned with their body image?

3. Missing classes

Identify the reason your child is missing classes.

  • Have they been too tired to wake up on time?
  • Are they not prepared for the class?
  • Did they decide the class is boring and not worth their time? 

4. Not Communicating

Determine why you are not hearing from your child.

Are they so busy and engaged in their college life that they aren’t thinking about home?
​Could they be avoiding talking to you because things aren’t going well? 

​Have you established a plan for regular communication with them?

5. Poor Grades

Find out what is causing your child to have poor grades.

  • Are they studying and trying their best?
    ​Could the courses be too difficult? 
  • ​Does your child prioritize studying and academics, or social life? 
  • ​Is your child overwhelmed by college life and unable to focus on academics?

6. Change in Mood

Identify why your child ‘s moods have been noticeably different from what had been true in the past.

  • Is there something in the college environment that is causing their mood change?
  • ​Does your child seem happy or unhappy?
  • ​Is your child stressed, anxious, or in control?  


7. Social Isolation

Determine why your child has become isolated from other students.

  • Does your child feel overwhelmed and need some alone time?
  • Has your child decided he or she doesn’t fit in?
  • Was there some incident that caused your child to choose isolation?


8. Frequently Sick

Figure out why your child has been sick so often.

  • Are they not getting enough sleep?
  • ​Have they been spending time with students who are sick?
  • ​Did they see a doctor on campus for an exam?
  • ​Should they be eating healthier or taking vitamins?


What should a parent do?

If your child is exhibiting a number of the signs listed above, you will want to discover what these signs really mean by speaking with your child to determine if he or she would benefit from additional support.
Many parents find it difficult to get their children to be totally open about what is actually happening at college. If this is your situation, it is important to enlist a trusted adult to have those conversations.
I often serve in that role for parents. As a health coach, I specialize in helping college students manage stress so they can have a successful and enjoyable college experience.

My role is one of support and accountability. I become your student’s cheerleader and mentor –giving you peace of mind knowing your child has someone focusing solely on their health and well being
To speak with me privately about your son or daughter and explore how I can support you.

You can also reach me by email at:
By text or phone at: 203-912-8078

I look forward to speaking with you soon!