Always planned on going to college, say the freshmen.  Have been working on this for all of high school and before.  School chosen.  On the way to begin a new adventure.  Smart so should know what to do and how to do it.  Advisors – the main thing is to get students into classes that fulfill general eds and may even move toward some declared major.  College offers training, education, opportunities.  Colleges are big money – grants and loans – payments guaranteed.

Back to the students – advising – into classes or left on their own.  The guidance from experience and knowledge of options is beneficial when available.  Freshman strike out on their own in a new environment with new freedom.  Each one wanting to further establish their independence, yet there may be confusion and uncertainty.

Parents adjusting to one less fledgling at home – needing to let go and yet wanting to protect.  Parents full of advice and yet know much of it won’t be listened to.  Parents need to let the freshman know they are available to listen and ask questions.  Parents can share some of their own stories letting the freshman know – how to find answers, that challenges will happen, that things can work out, it is truly an adventure.

Colleges are now looking at the support and guidance needed for retention.  Information is getting out.  Still the inconsistency between the business of high education and the purpose of higher education requires strategies for navigation to gain the students objective (which can be knowledge, job skills, play, adventure….).

Parents still have the role of advocacy at the college level as in K-12.  The role may be more guidance for the student, yet there needs to be a willingness to step in also.

Parents are proud and delighted with their freshman taking this next step to college.  Yet, parents are in a panic as they know the freshman will be exposed to the big world out there- both the good and the bad.  Ongoing communication so the freshman knows the parents are there as a support, even if only in the background is critical.

Freshmen have a major transition in routine.  There is more freedom and more self-responsibility.  The excitement is paramount.  The anxiety can be overwhelming.  The struggle exists with going solo into the unknown and yet partially wanting the security of the known.

Parents and freshmen what are you doing to prepare for the transition?  Expect the bags are packed and the shopping is getting done (don’t forget your toothbrush).  What are you expectations?  What are your concerns?  What are your resources and safety nets?


You can find more of Edith’s ramblings at blog 


2 thoughts on “School time – big steps to college

  1. My mother’s best advice was to sip the alcohol and not get pregnant til I graduated. Really though, how can a parent advise on classes in a college they never attended?

    1. They may not be able to give subject specific advice, but even when I went to a vocational school, I noticed those of us who actually did find jobs after graduation were the ones who put something into it: We attended all of our classes every day. We took notes and paid attention in class instead of sitting in the back and gossiping with friends, we did and turned in our homework. The ones who didn’t put as much into it…some of them felt the need to sue the school because they weren’t able to get jobs soon after they graduated –even though they all signed a document acknowledging they weren’t guaranteed jobs, only an education.

      So, my advice for any college student, is that you will get out of it what you put into it. Jobs are not guaranteed even if you do well in school, but you’ll certainly have a better shot at getting and keeping a job than someone who was in the habit of barely showing up for classes and barely squeaking by with passing grades. Of course it’s important to be balanced and have a social life at the same time!

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