HOBOKEN, N.J. — College is supposed to be a time of exciting new beginnings, but as many incoming freshmen prepare to face a bunch of brand new adult responsibilities in a brand new environment, sometimes the stress can be too much to bear.
Academic experts, however, are providing insight into what students and their parents can do to make the transition to college easier.
A new school year can be tough for anyone, especially for incoming freshmen, who faced social and academic hurdles in their last few years of high school because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Factor in that many students are also leaving their homes to enter a new environment, and it can make transitioning into their first year of college even more overwhelming. This stress can lead to more serious health problems like anxiety and depression if freshmen don’t feel connected when they arrive on campus.
Data collected by the National Institute of Health found that between 12-15% of college students “meet criteria for one or more common mental disorders.”
Sara Klein, student affairs vice president at the Stevens Institute of Technology, said, “College is about developing as a whole person, and it’s a whole experience that involves academic success but also personal, social and professional success.”
Academic experts like Klein say college faculty and staff are trained to offer student support, but the students themselves need to feel comfortable getting involved and asking for help.
“You do need to have a social network for support, for feeling engaged on campus,” said Klein. “You need to make some connections.”
As freshmen work to develop new connections, Klein says that parents should support these developments from a distance.
“I think sometimes parents and families, while well-intentioned, are so involved in the process that what they’re doing is actually not allowing their student the freedom and the independence to get out there on their own,” explained Klein.
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