Helping Your Child Transition to College Life
UVI Counseling Services is aware that sending a child to college can be exciting and also anxiety-ridden for parents and their children. We hope the information in guide will help make the transition as smooth as possible. Many people at the University of the Virgin Islands are working hard to make your child’s educational experience a positive time for learning and personal growth.
Your son or daughter will very likely be experiencing a range of emotions as he or she leaves for college. Remember that these emotions, such as happiness, anxiety, sadness, and excitement are perfectly normal. At this stage of life, your child will face the following developmental issues:
- Achieving a sense of competency
- Achieving identity
- Managing emotions
- Achieving intimacy
During the college years, your child will continue the process of independence while establishing new and intimate connections with friends, faculty, and other individuals. He or she will be exposed to new ideas which may or may not lead to changes in their behavior and thinking. Many of these changes are just a normal part of growing up.
As parents, you too experience these developmental issues but from a different perspective such as:
- Competence- trusting your child’s abilities
- Identity- redefinition of yourself; move from caretaker to mentor/advisor
- Separation-anxiety for you
- Management of Emotions- how to deal effectively with your anxiety
- Intimacy-how to stay close to your child without smothering
Common First Year Student Issues:
1. New freedom and responsibilities
2. New and more demanding academic courses
3. Changing relationships the family, friends, and self
4. Challenges to belief and values
Common First Year Stressors:
1. Higher expectations and more competition
2. Setting boundaries with peers
3. Roommate conflicts
4. Maintaining appropriate level of self-care
5. Economic uncertainty
6. Greater diversity on campus
Many of these concerns are just a normal part of growing up. Remember, every child has their own experiences of adjusting to and dealing with the rewards and challenges of college life.
What You Can Do to Assist Your Child
As parents, there are many ways that you can assist your child in adjusting to college life. This is an excellent time to be supportive but not as directive in your child’s life.
Ø LISTEN. One of the most important roles of a parent is that of listener and supporter. Be an active listener so that you may understand what your child tells you about his or her feeling or experiences. Do not be quick to give advice; most times, listening is often sufficient.
Ø Stay in Touch with Your Child. Inform your child about what may be happening at home. This lets him or her know that they are still a valuable member of the family.
Ø Support Independence. As a supporter, you may offer suggestions when appropriate, but allow your child to make the final decision. This conveys to your child that you are confident in their judgment and ability to resolve concerns.
Ø Deal Problems Effectively. Avoid including your child in your problems. Students have enough to worry them on their own. Just as you are seeking to have your child take care of his or her self, your child needs to know that you can take care of yourself as well.
Ø Know the Warning Signs. Unfortunately, children are not always direct about letting their parents know when they are experiencing difficulties. Some warning signs are but are not limited to: increase in sadness and anxiety, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, alcohol or drug related problems, withdrawals from family and friends, and poor academic performance. If you notice any of these warning signs do hesitate to contact UVI Counseling Services at:
|St. Croix Campus
||St. Thomas Campus
Phone: (340) 692-4187
Phone: (340) 692-4180
Additional student support services contact numbers are provided for you convenience.
St. Croix Campus:
St. Thomas Campus:
Associate Campus Administrator (340)693-1120
Admissions: (340) 639-1150
Campus Security: (340) 693-1530
Career Services: (340) 693-1134
Counseling Services (340) 693-1134
Financial Aid: (340) 693-1090
Health Services: (340) 693-1124
Student Housing: (340) 693-1110
Student Activities (340) 693-1110
Registrar (340) 693-1160