When students are in high school, often parents provide the structure, accountability, and boundaries for their son or daughter to do well in school. However, according to a 2018 article in U.S. News & World Report on College Freshman Retention Rates, as many as 1 in 3 first-year students won’t make it back for sophomore year. There are many reasons that students don’t return including poor study skills, lack of preparation for the academic rigor of college work or a lack of good time management. Many college courses expect a student to be mature enough to study and organize large assignments independently. Another reason is lack of self-management skills around healthy eating, healthy sleeping, and a sense of isolation and loneliness from home and peers. Often, when students struggle, they begin to isolate, quit attending classes, and begin to “self-medicate” with either video games or substances.
Substance use can quickly escalate and often students explore and engage in risky sexual behaviors while intoxicated. Many women report getting raped by an acquaintance while at parties. As things spiral out of control, students often struggle with anxiety and also with depression. Sadly, many parents do not know of any of these struggles or know just the “tip of the iceberg”. Often students will not sign a release for parents to receive grade reports and unfortunately, parents find out a student has been placed on academic probation or has been asked to leave when it is too late to take measures to correct the downward slide in grades. Other students maintain grades but begin to show signs of significant substance abuse.
Students return home demoralized, full of shame, and with a loss of academic self-confidence. They feel they are alone in their difficulties and see peers moving ahead with diplomas, jobs, and careers. Parents and students alike are unaware that there are great college transition programs that can support these students and help them regain traction back into a healthier life adjustment. Some students attend young adult wilderness programs as a way to get intense therapy and to determine how to overcome self-imposed barriers. Others go to a phased young adult transition program that may start with life skills and a part time job and gradually allow a student to re-enter college, often at a small and supportive community college.
At The Price Group, we research the alternatives and help to determine what supports and programs will fit for the individual student. Some need strictly academic help, some need recovery programs, and some need help with social skills and finding a healthy peer group. There are many reasons for struggles in college and young adulthood and we help research these transition programs to find the one that most closely matches the student’s issues and needs.