The college years are often idealized as being about a great social scene, some interesting classes, and preparation for a career. But, this image belies the reality that college—and the transition to adulthood that accompanies it—is often a rocky path. There are personal, social, and academic challenges that even the most "college ready" student will face, because this period of life is about change.
For many students, these changes include moving away from family (emotionally and often geographically), developing an adult identity, questioning the beliefs they were raised with, and choosing a career path. None of those are easy tasks, and the alarming statistics of depression, substance abuse, and misconduct on campuses are all signs that students are struggling with these changes.
In our work with students transitioning to college, we have found these five messages to be crucial to personal, social, and academic success on campus. While it's important for students to hear them before they arrive at their dorms, they'll likely need to continue to hear them as they move through their college years, too.
Sharing these perspectives as students head off to freshman year, then returning to them throughout their college years, is a powerful way to support students in taking control of their college experience.