The most critical adjustment period for first-year students is between the first two to six weeks of school. You can help your child’s transition by talking with him or her about ways to anticipate and handle the challenges of this new environment.

Developing Proper Study Habits

If your student is working hard but is discouraged by low grades, ask questions:

  • Has he or she spoken to the professor, a faculty adviser, first-year mentor, or one of the deans?

  • Has your student attended a teaching assistant’s study session, an “Academic Success” workshop?

  • Has your student made use of the Writing Center or Quantitative Center?

Help is available, and sometimes a simple question is all that is needed to get your student on the right track.

Adjusting to a New Social Environment

When they begin college, first-year students are building new relationships without the support of family and old friends. Often, they feel out of place in their new environment.

If your child seems unusually unhappy or anxious, ask if there is someone helpful to talk with a:

  • Friend

  • Resident assistant

  • First-year mentor

  • P.R.I.D.E. leader in the dorm

  • Coach

  • Faculty member

  • Dean

  • Counselor

The key to a student’s success is involvement. Talk to your child, but also give him or her space to work things out independently. Ask what would be most helpful, and respect the need for autonomy.

For more resources on transitioning to college, visit Trinity’s Student Life or Dean of Students pages.