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Navigating the Transition from High School to College: Tips for Students & Parents

Launch Pads to Lecture Halls

Transitioning from high school to college is a significant milestone filled with excitement and new challenges. For recently graduated seniors and their parents, navigating this period successfully requires preparation, understanding, and adaptability. At Garrett Educational Consulting, we aim to provide you with valuable insights to make this transition smoother. Here are our essential tips to guide both students and parents through this exciting journey.

Tips for Students transitioning from high school to college.

1. Keep Track of Your New College Email

Your college email will be the primary means of communication with your institution. It’s crucial to monitor this inbox regularly as it will contain vital information about:

  • Orientation schedules

  • Class registration

  • Submission of final documentation

  • Health records and other required tasks

Failing to stay updated could result in missed deadlines, registration issues, or even dismissal from the school. Make it a habit to check your email daily and respond promptly to any requests.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

College is often described as “the best four years of your life,” but it’s important to approach it with a balanced perspective. There will be challenging moments, including:

  • Difficult classes and demanding professors

  • Living with roommates

  • Managing your time independently

Social media can amplify the highlights, but remember that everyone experiences tough days. Embrace these challenges as part of your growth, and don’t hesitate to seek support when needed.

3. Make Use of Resources

Colleges offer a plethora of resources designed to support your academic and personal well-being. Familiarize yourself with:

  • Academic Resources: Tutoring centers, academic success centers, and professor office hours

  • Health Services: Campus health centers for medical appointments and prescriptions

  • Mental Health Support: Counseling services and mental health resources

Investigating these resources early ensures you know where to turn when you need assistance.

4. Plan to Create Structure for Yourself

With approximately 15 hours of classes per week and 168 hours in a week, you’ll have abundant free time. Effective use of this time is essential for success. Create a structured schedule that includes:

  • Study time

  • Exercise

  • Relaxation and social activities

  • Adequate sleep

This will probably be the first time when you are given all of your dues dates and important information in your syllabus on the first day of class.  You will be expected to manage these expectations yourself with little or no reminder from your professor.  Make sure to find a tool to manage these items for your classes. Use tools like a paper planner or Google Calendar to keep track of due dates and responsibilities. Planning ahead will help you manage your workload efficiently and avoid last-minute stress.

Tips for Parents

1. Understand Your New Role

As your child transitions to college, there will be aspects of their life that you will no longer directly manage, including:

  • Course schedules

  • Grades

  • Tuition bills

Encourage your student to stay on top of this information and discuss options for them to grant you access to their student account if mutually agreeable.

2. Prepare for Healthcare and Legal Concerns

Your child’s healthcare information and other personal details will remain private under college regulations. Consider obtaining necessary documents such as:

  • Limited Power of Attorney

  • Health Care Power of Attorney

  • FERPA release forms

Consult with a legal advisor to determine which documents are appropriate for your situation.

3. Foster Independence

Begin fostering independence as early as possible, ideally starting in high school. Over the summer, encourage your student to:

  • Budget their finances

  • Manage their own schedule

  • Handle personal tasks like laundry and grocery shopping

These skills will be invaluable when they start college and live independently.

Enjoy the Transition Together

For both parents and students, this summer is a precious time to enjoy together. Encourage your child to spend time with high school friends and cherish family moments. This period of transition is filled with anticipation, and it’s beneficial to savor these moments before embarking on the new journey.

As students head off to college in the fall, they will return with new friends, experiences, and a broader perspective on life. Embrace this change and get excited for the adventures ahead.

Transitioning from high school to college is a transformative experience for both students and parents. By keeping track of essential communications, setting realistic expectations, utilizing available resources, and fostering independence, you can navigate this transition smoothly. We dedicated an entire podcast episode to talking about tips and ideas for easing the transition to college.  You can listen to this and all of our other episodes HERE.

If you found these tips helpful, consider exploring more resources and personalized consulting services to ease your transition further. Visit our website or contact us directly for more information, and be sure to follow us on Instagram for helpful tips and information.

Remember, this journey is just beginning. Embrace the changes, prepare diligently, and look forward to the exciting opportunities that college life will bring.


Garrett Educational Consulting provides comprehensive application support to students going through the college admissions and boarding school admission process.  Learn more about their services by clicking HERE.

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