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Tips for New College Students Leaving Home

By: Danielle Bertini, LPC

Life transitions can be difficult, and the transition from high school to college is no different. Moving out of your home, sharing a small living space with strangers, and adjusting to new class schedules are among some of the many changes and challenges that come with this transition. All while trying to discover who you are as a person and picking a major/life path for yourself. College can be difficult, but luckily there are things you can do to make the transition a bit easier for yourself. Here are some tips from Greif (2018) for students navigating the first month of college while living away from home:

  1. Although you don’t need to call or text your parents every single day, try and keep them in the loop about your life. This can be as personal or as brief as you are comfortable with, depending on your relationship. It is important to accept that at, at times, there may be some miscommunication between you and those at home. Establishing long distance communication might be a new thing for everyone involved, so give yourself some patience with navigating this. Similarly, just as much as it is important to keep your parent’s updated, make sure to also keep siblings in mind, as well.
  2. Although cliché, follow the standard advice given about health. This includes things like making sure to get enough sleep, exercise, eating nutritious meals, and avoiding excesses in recreational activities (*cough, cough* not partying every night). Again, give yourself some patience with figuring this out and finding what works for you.
  3. Make new friends! College is a time when you are surrounded by people your age, so take advantage of that. You can reach out to people living near you/in your dorm, or even find activities you like on campus and get involved there. That is a great way to meet people who have similar interests to you. 
  4. Although Tip #3 is important, it is also important to try and keep in touch with old friends if those relationships are important and significant to you. 
  5. Roommates can be tough. Sometimes you might not be on the same sleep patterns, study habits, or levels of cleanliness. You might also have different socializing needs. With this in mind, just know that you will need to find a level of accommodating one another. You and your roommates do not need to be best friends, but you do need to find ways to live comfortably with one another.
  6. Find a study routine that works for you. This can mean finding a quiet place to work and a schedule that works for you both academically and socially. If you are struggling in your classes, try contacting your professors for extra help. You can also use other campus support services for academic struggles and even emotional struggles. That is what they are there for, so use them! Don’t be afraid to utilize campus counseling services or other counseling resources during this time. Like this article is discussing, the transition to college can be tough, so don’t neglect your mental health. 
  7. Explore the surrounding community. The community in which your school exists most likely has a lot to offer. This can give you a chance to learn about the history of the town, as well as the opportunity to engage in a way that is totally separate from where you are enrolled.
  8. Hold on to the values that are important to you, but also be open to hearing others’ views and perspectives. College is a great opportunity to learn more about yourself as well as others around you.

If you would like to talk to a licensed therapist about the transition from home life to college life, please do not hesitate to reach out to Symmetry Counseling. We offer individual counseling for people of all ages, as well as family therapy in Chicago


Greif, G. (2018, September 8). 8 Tips for New College Students Away From Home


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