Staying the course: New freshmen can sometimes question their college decisions this time of year

Well-known child psychologist Dr. Michelle Borba travels to colleges across the country to talk with freshman and their parents about depression, stress and dropouts that peak during the second half of the first year. She points out to parents that when their child is home for the holidays, back to family and friends, parents play a critical role in making sure that second semester goes smoothly.

Jordan's advice to parents with a seemingly unsure or unhappy freshman is to allow their child to acclimate to being back home. She advises parents to let their child reconnect with family and friends before sitting down to determine what the problem is.

"Is it the college itself, some part of the college experience that the staff or an advisor could assist with, or has your student given it the 'old college try' to find out that it wasn't a good match or they're just not ready? Some of the biggest problems only need a little time and attention to work out and give a chance," said Jordan. "For example, if the roommate situation was so bad that it was worth somebody moving, it'll take time to readjust to the new dorm or new roommate. You've given the resident hall staff a chance to help you, and they'll be aware of your needs when you return."

Parents can be proactive by starting the process of choosing a college long before senior year in high school. Mohonasen guidance counselor Rebecca Pauley said they have plenty of information on where to start when looking at colleges. She said they encourage students to start early so they have time to visit schools and really get a feel for what will best work for them.

"We have actually put together a book in our office that details questions students and parents may have," said Pauley.

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