3 Keys to Help Your Student Adjust to a New Campus

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As a graduate student at Baylor University, I worked for the school in retention of incoming freshmen. The training came largely from the Psychology Department and its years of experience with new students, and I have seen the same truths play out in the past 15 years with junior high and high school students. If you have a student entering a new campus this year (from elementary to college), here are three key factors to a successful and happy transition into the student’s new environment.

1. The happiest new students are those who quickly find a group of friends with a common interest. In college, this can be done through the Greek system or any one of a myriad of on-campus organizations. In high school, this can be done through similar organizations, teams, or classmates. The problem arises when students let apprehension cause resistance to trying new things. Push your student to move beyond his/her comfort zone and try new things.

2. Many new students initially experience emotions such as fear, anxiety, and loneliness. They feel like they are the only new kid in town, and this is never the case. Remind them of this frequently.

3. Some students will experience “The Grass is Always Greener” syndrome. Once the initial adjustments are made and students begin to settle into a routine, typically things get better, if even for just a short while. Inevitably, a crisis will arise. For college students this could be the first round of tests that receive failing grades. For younger kids it is likely a social scenario. Someone is not asked to the Homecoming dance or not invited to a party. At this point, it is not uncommon to hear talk of transfer or going back to a former school. When this occurs, remind them why they are at their respective schools and how current circumstances should not affect long-term goals. It is always easier to think our current circumstances would not exist in a different environment, but the truth is that life is full of obstacles everywhere.

Hopefully your student will have an outstanding experience on his/her new campus this fall. However, for some, that may not always be the case. So when it comes up, parents armed with these three strategies can help ensure that their students can achieve success where they believed they belonged before difficult, but temporary circumstances arose.

 

Until next time…

Jeff

About Jeffrey D. Potts, Ed.D.

Raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Jeff Potts, Ed.D., grew up learning the importance of hard work and family values. A graduate of Baylor University, he has master’s degrees from two universities and earned his Ed.D. in teaching and learning from a fourth institution. Potts launched his pedagogical career in the 1990s, working full-time with students and parents. READ MORE→