Your student’s first year is going to be one of many ups and downs. Being aware of what your student may be going through will better enable you to help ease them into their college transition.


1 Early summer anticipation
This is when high school seniors graduate and begin to look forward to the future. They have feelings of sadness, accomplishment, and anticipation.

2 Midsummer anxiety
Now they begin to realize that they will soon be less connected to home, family, friends, and the security that each offers.

3 Late summer panic
The student is plunged into the collegiate environment complete with college bureaucracy, classrooms, homework, a foreign social world, and most likely a new roommate.

4 The honeymoon
A couple of new friends and no test for at least three weeks. Let’s go have some fun! For some, they may use this as an opportunity to join a handful of organizations and be just as involved as they were in high school.

5 The reality check
Where did all of this work come from? What do you mean I have to read the textbook? This paper has to be how long and it’s due when? And where did all the time go? Homesickness may appear during this phase. (TIP: This would be a great time to send a care package!)

6 The grass is always greener…
They are sure that transferring somewhere else will solve their problems. No doubt they would be doing better at another college.

7 You can’t go home again
This starts the first time they come home to visit. They are hit with the harsh realization that life for the rest of the family goes on without them. (TIP: Outline the new expectations you have for your student at home.)

8 Primitive coping behavior
Well into the first semester, they finally learned to use the library and hold reasonably intelligent conversations. They are excited about the things they have learned.

9 Realization
This phase usually precedes finals. They realize the great amount of work ahead and know that the future depends largely on their ability to balance academic activities with social activities.

10 Putting it together
Sometime during the second semester (we hope) they see college as a total experience. They realize that hard work and achievement must be priorities but do not totally exclude time for having fun. They learn what it takes to make the most of the college year.