High school graduation is here and parents are proudly snapping photos, bragging about which college their student will attend, and basking in the fact that they raised a successful high school graduate. Then comes the summer before college . . .
Right now, your student is probably looking forward to “gelling” during the summer: spending time with friends free from the worries and stresses of the past year. Some students will be looking forward with anticipation to the fall and becoming a college student. But others might be experiencing noticeable pre-college anxiety about this next big step.
It happened in my house. My daughter dreamed of going to college in Boston. She worked hard during high school and her dream became a reality. The campus was gorgeous, the academics were superb, and the student body was a perfect fit for her. The icing on the cake was the many Greek organizations on campus. Her grandmother was a Zeta and she always dreamed of following in her footsteps in college.
But as the summer dragged on, I began to notice measurable hesitancy on her part. She didn’t want to discuss the topic of college. She started voicing thoughts of transferring after the first semester to a college in her home state. She didn’t want to start discussing dorm specifics or communicate with her future roommate. What was happening?
If you start seeing any red flags like these, you should ask yourself, “What’s really going on?” Is it simply nervousness related to the change? Is there another person or persons influencing her sudden change in mood or direction? Is she truly changing her mind about college and you need to discuss other options with her?
Once you diagnose the problem, it should be easier to determine what action you need to take.
I’ve outlined the six red flags in this article I wrote for Teen Life Magazine: Watch for These 6 Red Flags the Summer Before College. If your student is exhibiting any of these symptoms, take action. Don’t assume they will pass. Start a non-judgmental conversation and listen to what he is feeling.
My daughter and I were able to find the cause of her problem and I was able to ease her concerns. Just because the decision was made in May to go to college, keep an eye out during the summer before college for any signs of pre-college anxiety.