Supporting a Troubled Young Adult Going Off to College

Yellowbrick troubled college

Planning for college can be stressful.  With so many school options to research, majors to consider, and tuition plans to take into account, preparing for the next educational level, and a highly independent one, becomes an equation similar to calculating return on investment.  Weighing heavier than capital gain, the outcome of careful college planning determines future successes, like a rich sense of personal identity and meaningful career path.  Parents want to know how to support their adult children with going off to college, especially young adults facing trouble, challenge, or difficulties.

Traditional guidelines for the early steps in college planning

College planning usually begins during high school and starts with gathering information about universities, junior colleges, and trade schools.  Students meet with counselors and recruiters, receiving guidance regarding college choices based on their skills, interests, and abilities. Young adults engage at college and career expos, which encourages the exploration of schools, majors, and career opportunities.

Colleges take high school coursework into account when reviewing applicant transcripts, so students should carefully select classes to meet their goals throughout their secondary education, according to ACT. Testing for college entrance exams traditionally takes place in the junior year of high school, while applying for college should be completed the summer before senior year.

Considerations beyond chronological

Before imagining the traditional route to college, spending hours on applications, and building a set of expectations, parents should consider if their adult child is ready for college.  Sure, chronologically and traditionally, the emerging adult is age appropriate to plan for college, but delayed developmental domains or personal struggles may create barriers against a prosperous educational path.

Parents benefit from reflecting on their adult child’s self-help skills like organization, motivation, regulation, and moderation before determining if going away to college is the right choice.  Parents may see that academically, their student is ready to progress, yet in realm of self-sufficiency, support is needed. For example, a brilliant emerging adult on the autism spectrum has a passion for learning and solid major in mind, yet her parents worry she would have a hard time adapting to living in a dorm.

Emerging adults need a strong set of healthy coping skills to deal with the demands connected with going away to college.  Parents should pay attention to coping skills or  behavioral patterns that might affect the ability to enjoy the freedom of going away to college, like routine binge-drinking or eating disorders.

Making the transition to college a collaboration

Parents best support their emerging adults in making the transition to college through of collaboration.  Parents and adult children who openly research options and discuss college plans together come up with supportive strategies for going away to school.

Families should identify and welcome the help of college and career resources, like the services at Yellowbrick. Core Competence Services, encourages emerging adults in choosing the right educational path. Emerging young adults who struggle to take care of daily needs or responsibilities may best progress in a living environment designed for support like the Core Competence Services at Yellowbrick.

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