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  • David Robert

Ease the Pain of Transitioning to College: 5 Easy Steps

October of freshman year, students and parents are in the thick of transition. Kids are calling home crying or have gone MIA. Parents don’t know how their freshmen are doing emotionally or academically. Young adults have had to make the leap from high school to college academics and from living at home to living away at school. Even for those students commuting, confronting the change in course load, and letting go of those high school connections, can be daunting. Parents and guardians are hoping for the best while monitoring long awaited independence and their own need to control the situation. It’s all so new! This push and pull are especially amplified for students with executive dysfunction and social/emotional deficits.

What can be done now?

1. Access through FERPA: FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974and it guarantees that the academic records for students 18 and over (regardless of guardianship) cannot be discussed with anyone without student consent. Documents restoring disclosure or declining disclosure can usually be found on the school’s website. Without student consent, you will not be able to access records or discuss your student’s progress. Students need to understand that and make choices in their best interest.

2. Weekly virtual check-ins: If you haven’t established this routine, I encourage you to pick a time when you will speak with and see each other. Routine check-ins will support the adjustment period and ease anxiety for everyone involved.

3. On campus resources: Most colleges have counseling centers, tutoring centers, fitness centers, advising, and peer mentoring in addition to student accessibility for support and accommodations with demonstrated eligibility. Take advantage of these resources.

4. Off campus resources: Post Covid many colleges and universities are stretched beyond capacity providing resources, especially counseling. For students registered with a documented disability some states will support counseling, private tutors, and executive function coaching through vendors with Vocational Rehab or DDS. Health insurance could pay for additional support. Of course, if it’s affordable there are private pay options as well.

5. Find your people: Students and parents will find support and comfort with likeminded people who have shared interests. On campus advertising and school websites present a robust selection of clubs and activities where students can develop friendships and have an enhanced social experience. Likewise, parents and guardians can find resources and support by joining social media parent groups affiliated with most colleges and universities. You don’t have to navigate this alone.

October is the perfect time to regroup and attend to these very manageable to-do’s.

Summit Campus is designed to help residents acquire the transition skills necessary for independent living through daily direct instruction and by facilitating access to campus and community resources. For more information visit

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