"Emotional Preparedness Translates to Good Self-Management at the College Level"

By Sophia K. Havasy, Ph.D.

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For 20 years I have been advising families that they send the whole person off to college, not just the student, and that the whole person needs to be prepared before he/she goes away. A recent poll provides the current evidence to support this idea. During their first year of college, students are the most vulnerable. The largest number of dropouts occur at this time. And, once they come home after being unsuccessful, it takes a massive effort to get them back on track.

Harris Poll published a survey of 1502 college freshmen interviewed during March and April of 2015. The students were in their 2nd semester of either a 2-year or 4-year college program. The poll was sponsored by The JED Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and The Jordan Porco Foundation. All three of these organizations are interested in the mental health and emotional well-being of teens and college students.

The major finding of the poll is quoted as: “first year college students uncovered that emotional preparedness—defined by the organizations as the ability to take care of oneself, adapt to new environments, control negative emotions or behaviors and build positive relationships—is a major factor to students’ success during their first year of college.” (Emphasis added). Students who felt less emotionally prepared had lower GPAs, and were more likely to describe their experience at school as “terrible/poor.” Of all of the students polled, 50% felt stressed “most or all of the time.” 36% did not feel in control of managing the day-to-day stress of college life. The majority of all of the students polled (60%) wished they had received more help with emotional preparedness prior to leaving high school.

It takes more to be a successful college student than academic readiness. We send the whole person off to college; we have to make sure that whole person is ready. Check out my blog, www.drhavasy.com, for copies of the Adolescent Competencies Checklist and the Young Adult Competencies Checklist. If the young person can do an item such as, “I get myself up and ready to go in the morning,” consistently, which I define as 90% of the time without needing to be reminded, then they can check it off as a skill that is in place. Parents and the student can use this kind of measure to address issues of competency while still in high school. It is a better option than trying to pick up the pieces after a first year collapse.

As a result of the poll, the organizations are establishing a website to be in full operation in 2016 called www.SettoGo.org to assist students, parents, and educators to better plan for launching competent young people off to college. Find more results from the survey at www.SettoGo.org as well.

I will have College Readiness Groups going in the Spring. Call now and schedule.

 

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