College The First Year

The first year of college involves many changes for your son or daughter or family member.  Each month they are dealing with a variety of new and challenging situations.  The following calendar provides a listing of some of the common stressors and issues faced by most students during their first year.  These c an affect your student whether they live on-campus, in an apartment, or commute from home.  We hope you will find this "overview" beneficial.


  • Time Management - Making time for multiple demands:
    • Academic
    • Social
    • Recreational
    • Possible employment
  • Social Pressure:  Making new friends and "fitting in"
  • Leaving the security of home, family and friends or adjusting to living at home and being in college
    • New environment
    • New people
    • New demands
  • Adjusting to independence:
    • Accepting responsibility
    • Making their own decisions
    • Dealing with the consequences of their decisions
    • Exploring values
  • Learning to manage money
  • Learning to live in a community
    • Coping with new roles
    • Policies and norms
    • sharing an apartment or house
    • Being around someone different than them


  • Midterm Exams:  Their first experience with college exams
  • Dealing with conflict:  Roommates, family and friends
  • Class Selection Stressors:
    • Which professor is a better fit for me?
    • Is the class required for my major?
    • Taking early/late classes
    • Looking for a job


  • Academic demands incr3ase
  • Less contact with  family and friends at home
  • Finalizing class schedule for the spring semester
  • Cash for the holidays


  • Preparing for final assignments and final exams
  • Balancing social and academic demands
  • Preparing for another change in their environment
    • Readjusting to home life
    • Missing their college friends while they are home on break
    • Reconnecting with old friends from home
  • Anxiety about their first semester grades


  • Readjusting to school and returning to the college routine
  • Reestablishing relationships with college friends
  • Dealing with the first semester grades
  • Remembering to request on-campus housing for the following year


  • The "Winter Blues"
  • Making plans for Spring Break
  • Applying for financial aid


  • Meeting with advisors about selecting a major
  • Preparing for and taking midterm exams
  • Expectations and/or disappointments related to spring break
  • Financial stress/not enough money


  • Counting down the days until the semester is over
  • Preparing for finals
  • Participating in end of the year activities
  • Registration for fall semester classes
  • Leaving college friends
  • What will I do this summer?
    • Take summer courses
    • Work
    • Readjusting to living at home
    • Receiving Grades
    • Wondering how much financial aid you've received for the following year

For additional information, please check out the following websites:

College Parents of America home page, a national association

FAFSA:  Electronically file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)