The 10 Phases in Preparing For and Adjusting to College

It’s that time of year…kids are headed off to college. As parents, we want to make their transition successful and have them enjoy this experience. I received this in the parents newsletter of the college my freshman is attending in Texas. I thought it might help other parents who are trying to figure out the best way to support their children as they transition. If you do not have a college student pass it along to those you know who do.

Phase 1: Early Summer Anticipation
High school senior graduates and looks to the future.  Mixed feelings of sadness, accomplishment, and anticipation.
Phase 2: Midsummer Anxiety
Realize they will soon leave home, family, and friends, and those feelings of security.
Phase 3: Late Summer Panic
Student is plunged into the college environment complete with roommate, university red tape, classes, and a foreign social world.
Phase 4:The Honeymoon
Student meets many new friends during Welcome Week and there are no tests for three weeks!  It’s play time! Or so it seems…
Phase 5: End of the Honeymoon
“Where did all of this work come from and where did the time go?”  Homesickness may appear at this stage as the student feels somewhat overwhelmed.
Phase 6: The Grass is Always Greener
“There’s no doubt I would do better somewhere else.  Can I transfer?”  These feelings are common and usually subside.
Phase 7: You Can’t Go Home Again
This happens the first time a student goes home.  They realize that life for the rest of the family goes on without them.
Phase 8: Primitive Coping Behavior
Well into the first semester, they have finally learned to use the library and hold a reasonably intelligent conversation.  They are excited about learning.


Phase 9: Realization
Usually right before finals, they see the great amount of study time ahead of them and realize their future depends on their academic success.
Phase 10: Putting It All Together
Sometime during the second semester (hopefully), they see college as a total experience.  They realize that hard work and fun can go together.

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