Student Transition

A time of excitement and possibilities

College is a rite of passage for students, a time filled with excitement and possibilities. Everything is new and an adventure. Moving on to college represents a significant step towards adulthood whether the student lives at home or goes away to attend school. This transition into adulthood is a huge development step for your student, for you as a parent and for the rest of your family. Joy and some sadness are natural responses to the changing relationship between you and your student.

Like most new things, your student will face challenges that may come with transition

Challenges your student will face

What Parents Can Do

These changes are normal occurrences in a student’s development as they discover their own independence. As parents, you know your student better than any one. If you become aware of a significant change that seems to be beyond these normal transitions, you can encourage your student to seek out the variety of resources available on campus - counseling staff, faculty, academic advisors, residence hall staff, campus ministry, health center, etc.

The art of parenting an emerging adult requires the right balance between intervening thoughtfully during a true crisis and standing aside during mild difficulties, so that students can work these through and develop their own competencies. Your on-going communication with your student will help you know when you need to actively support your student and when he/she needs to stand on his/her own. Undoubtedly there will be bumps in the road for your student. Recognize the difference between venting, complaining and stressing out that is typical of college students and the kind of extreme distress that signals the need for intervention. Remember that the university has many resources available to your student. 

Tips for Families

Your student starts college this fall. If this is your first, you’ve never been through this before. We want to help you through this important first year. Here are some recommendations from Seattle University staff who work with students every day.

Just say "Not my job"

Don’t take responsibility for business your son or daughter should take care of. It is their responsibility—not yours—to register for classes, visit Student Financial Services, look for work-study positions, obtain a Campus Card, and do all the other chores associated with being a student. Students need to learn to manage their own affairs and think for themselves. College is a great place to start.

Don't worry-be patient

It’s natural for students to feel overwhelmed at times. It does not always mean that something is wrong. Sometimes just talking it out will help your child sort out problems. Encourage them to get involved in campus life. Students can work with the Residence Hall Association, the Student Government of Seattle University, the Spectator, or choose from more than 100 clubs and 35 intramural and recreational sports.

Remember, help is there

Don’t forget there are lots of people to help on campus. If students have issues in the residence hall or with a roommate, they can discuss it with a Resident Assistant. Trouble getting the hang of college studying? The Learning Center can help. Confused about the core curriculum? Students can make appointments to talk with their academic advisers. Wanting to meet people and get involved? The Center for Student Involvement can help.

Homesickness remedies

Here are some things you can do to relieve homesickness. Send packages of things reminiscent of home: favorite snacks, hometown newspapers, family pictures, the kid sister’s homework, letters from you and other family members. (Don’t expect to get many letters back, though. Students rarely write back, but you may get an email or a phone call.)

Stay Connected

Call, text, etc. Show an interest in what your son or daughter is doing, don’t just focus on questions about school. Talk about your family, your neighborhood, and what’s going on at the high school, etc. Also, send e-mail, letters and a package of treats from time to time.

Stay Connected

Call, text, etc. Show an interest in what your son or daughter is doing, don’t just focus on questions about school. Talk about your family, your neighborhood, and what’s going on at the high school, etc. Also, send e-mail, letters and a package of treats from time to time.

Vacation Plans

During breaks from school, plan family events so that students can be back on campus the day before classes begin. Missing classes puts your student at an academic disadvantage.

Finals week is not fatal

The first time through finals week is intense. Papers are due, reading assignments are backed up, co-curricular activities are through the roof. Pressure to do well is at its peak. Encourage your student to keep up with school work during the quarter, get plenty of rest, eat regularly, drink lots of water, and exercise. They’ll get through it and be better prepared for the next round.

Home for the holidays

The first time your son or daughter returns home from college, you’ll notice changes. Remember that students have been independent for months, setting their own rules.

Students are usually exhausted following final exams. Many parents report that students sleep much of the time they’re home from school.

Don’t worry… that is normal.

Check out the webinar found in our Webinar sections on Home for the Holidays.

Family Weekend is a Blast

Come to Family Weekend, where you can experience life at SU; meet faculty, RAs, staff members and other parents; and see what students see every day. This is a fall quarter event. Found out more about Family Weekend. 

If you're concerned, call us

Most problems students experience are things they can manage themselves with support from you and university resources. But sometimes students face problems they can’t handle. If you are convinced that your son or daughter may be having serious problems, call the Student Development Office, (206-296-6066). The university provides many options for helping students.