How to Best Support Your Student During Their Transition to College

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It is important to consider some of the common challenges your student will face as they prepare to start life at Tech. Common challenges for new students include “imposter syndrome” (fear that their acceptance was a mistake or that they are not smart enough), perfectionism and fear of making mistakes, and stress that results from overcommitment and a desire to become involved in too many new activities.

At Georgia Tech, we understand these challenges. Ariyanna White, a case manager at Tech’s Center for Assessment, Referral, and Education (CARE), says students need to be alert to these challenges as well. “College is such an exciting new opportunity in a person’s life,” she said. “Amidst all of this excitement, it’s important for students to have balance and perspective so that they can manage challenges and turn them into successes.” 

Too much stress can contribute negatively to a student’s motivation, social relationships, and overall academic success. Many students feel overwhelmed and underprepared to deal with stress in addition to all the new responsibilities and the expectations of college.

The most common areas of stress a college student may experience falls in the following categories: 

  • Academic Stress: Although students spend less physical time in classes in college as compared to high school, they are expected to do much more independent learning outside of class. They have the responsibility of registering for classes, planning their own schedule and holding themselves accountable in classes. Finding balance between academic demands and the pressure many students feel to succeed can lead to an increase in stress. 
  • Social Stress: For many new students, their friends are not easily accessible anymore. Students may explore personal values, beliefs, religion, or sexuality. Students may be trying to establish their social identity and reflect on how they are perceived by their peers. There is a lot pressure to define their future and identity during this time. 
  • Financial Stress: As students become more independent, they feel more fiscally responsibility. The expenses of tuition, books, a social life, and other needs can become overwhelming. 
  • Family Stress: Many students internalize the expectations that their families have for them. When they don’t believe they are living up those expectations, it can negatively impact their motivation and investment in their courses and negatively affect their confidence. 
  • Adjustment Stress: It is frustrating and stressful when initial experiences in college don’t meet a student’s expectations. It can take time for students to find what works for them. Finding what works often comes with disappointments. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are currently in a period of uncertainty that requires an additional measure of flexibility and resilience. 

All of these stressors may be compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, as students seek to navigate the “new normal.” Whether your student will remain at home with you or is packing up to move onto campus, this new layer of stress should be met with patience and understanding. Tameka Collins, another CARE case manager, says parents can help. “One of the most invaluable tools a student has is their parent’s support,” she said. “That can be as simple as listening and offering a non-judgmental ear.” Parents can also support their student by encouraging them to seek help.  

Georgia Tech’s Center for Assessment Referral and Education (CARE) is available to provide immediate support and connect students to the right resources. CARE is the single-entry point for mental health and well-being resources both on- and off- campus and is the first step in accessing counseling, psychiatry, and a range of other services. 

CARE opened as a new department in August 2019 to reduce barriers to mental health and well-being resources on campus. CARE is available to support students with a variety of concerns including time management, stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, academic distress and relationship issues, and medication management. 

CARE’s operational hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to5 p.m. and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Currently, CARE is offering telebehavioral health assessments for students in Georgia and consultations for students physically located outside of Georgia. After hours services are available on-campus for urgent needs beyond regular operating hours. To learn more, contact the CARE office at 404.894.3498. 



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: tbarker30
  • Created: 06/08/2020
  • Modified By: tbarker30
  • Modified: 06/08/2020


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