Considerations for Incoming Students
Welcome to the Kent State community.
We’re here to support you and your students as they make the transition to college. Although it is an exciting time for students, the transition process certainly poses some new challenges. Academically, the course work is more demanding, and students have more to juggle—taking responsibility for getting to their classes and keeping up with their assignments, while also establishing new friendships and figuring out where they fit in. It’s a time for new activities, new interests, new friends, and unfortunately new stressors.
To be successful, both academically and socially, students need to develop appropriate and effective coping skills. This starts with the basics—time management, good study skills, and learning to take care of oneself, physically and emotionally. It is important to eat well, get enough sleep, and to take time for exercise and recreation. Keeping things in balance is important.
When students do not do these things, life gets out of balance and can become much more stressful. At times, students may turn to maladaptive coping strategies—things such as avoidance, substance use, or other self-destructive patterns which over time can lead to more significant distress and mental health concerns. As parents, you are in a position not only to encourage and support your students as they start college, but to notice some of the warning signs that might indicate that they are having trouble with the transition.
SIGNS OF POSSIBLE DISTRESS:
- Excessive homesickness
- Coming home every weekend
- Not making new friends at school
- Marked change in performance or behavior
- Missing classes and/or not turning in assignments
- Trouble eating and/or sleeping
- Marked change in personal hygiene and self-care
- Dramatic weight loss or gain
- Emotional sensitivity
- Depressed or lethargic mood
- Excessive worry or anxiety
- Isolation from friends, family, or classmates
- Self-injurious behavior or thoughts of suicide
As parents, you may be one of the first individuals to notice that something is wrong. It is important to offer support and to encourage your student to reach out and ask for help. There are many resources available on campus to help make the transition to college easier. Many of them can be found on our Campus Partners page.
In terms of mental health, if students feel they would benefit from a consultation with a mental health provider, they can call CAPS 330-672-2487 to schedule an appointment. As young adults, it is important that they learn how to take responsibility for themselves and their healthcare, although we certainly welcome your involvement to the extent that it is appropriate and necessary. Please realize, however, that because of confidentiality, our communication with you may be limited, but we are also here to support you and to offer whatever consultation may be helpful.