Making the Transition
The transition from high school to college can be a very difficult process for both students and parents. Students are adapting to a new environment, making new friends, handling the rigors of academic life -- and all without the safety net of on-site parental support. Meanwhile, parents are often worrying about how their students are handling the transition and seeking ways they can continue to support their students from afar. The most beneficial ways to support your student involve facilitating self-determination -- the ability to identify and understand one's needs, interests, strengths, limitations and values.
Self-determination is a critical skill for success in higher education, because self-determined students: capitalize on their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses; are proactive and experience less stress; are persistent and focused on goals; use support systems to creatively problem solve. Furthermore, all of the elements of self-determination are essential skills for one to achieve any goal. Thus, college students must believe that they can be successful, be able to make logical decisions, act independently, and evaluate and adjust their actions as necessary to meet their goals and objectives.
Here are ways you can encourage self-determination in your student:
- Listen. Be there to provide support and consultation, but give your son or daughter the space to figure it out on their own. Resist the urge to "take over" the problem.
- Encourage them to make connections. Direct your son or daughter to talk with the Academic Resources Center, his/her professors, his/her academic advisor, and other individuals who can assist them while at Stetson.
- Don't be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process. Let your son or daughter learn from experiences.
- It's a different world. Students live in a different world than when we were their age. They need to set their own goals and take ownership of their education.
- Working Together. The Academic Resources Center welcomes parents' appropriate involvement. Recent studies suggest that active parental support fosters the development of self-determination. However:
- Be aware that, because of Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), post-secondary professionals cannot share information with parents without that student's written permission.
- Be mindful of "triangulation". Direct and honest communication with your son or daughter is the most effective way to teach them responsibility.
If your student needs additional help making the transition to college, please see our resources page.