support services for college students

The College Scoops Podcast

Episode 80: How Parents Can Support Their High School Graduates as They Transition to College

July 6, 2021

Listen Now:

Transitioning from high school to college is not easy for many young adults. Freshman year is full of many “firsts”. Not only are students navigating a new, more challenging academic environment, but they are also learning how to live with a roommate, meet new people, manage their time without any help, and a host of other social and personal adjustments. Alex Merrill joins us today to share his expertise working with high school and college students and how parents can support their student’s freshman year of college.


Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicBreakerPocketCastsTuneInAnchor

Key Takeaways:

  • Teaching is learning
  • Anxiety has increased significantly for students during COVID with the increased level of uncertainty. Anxiety sends students into a fight or flight mentality.
  • Parent-child relationships are challenging especially in high school. Having a mentor, teacher, or coach who students trust, is really helpful.
  • Advice for parents – the sink or swim attitude guidance for college-bound students does not work. You need to give them as much guidance, advice, and support as they launch their next academic adventure.
  • College life is vastly different. It is the 1st time students are living away from home with so many changes and freedom that it is overwhelming for students. Finding a mentor can be a game-changer.
  • Advice for students – email the professor before you attend your first class, do not be afraid to comment in discussion-based classes, network with your professors and classmates, advocate for yourself, and ask if you need help.
  • Social life in college is more strategic than in high school.
  • Email etiquette – check your email every day, respond within 24 hours, use proper introductions and check your spelling.
  • Academic life at college is different than high school. No one is going to push you except yourself and professors are not going to chase students down for homework.
  • Parents don’t solve your students’ problems. Give them support to help them solve them on their own. Be there to listen. Do not take control.

Important Resources and Links:

Meet Alex Merrill

guest editor

Alexander has taught English, coached, and dorm-parented for nearly 20 years at Dartmouth College, The King School, Kingswood-Oxford, Philips Andover, and The Taft School. He is an expert at instruction in all humanities and test preparation. He has tutored hundreds of adolescent teens and young adults from middle school through college level on all spectrums, behaviorally and academically. He attended Philips Exeter Academy and received an undergrad degree from Kenyon College and a Master’s Degree from Dartmouth College.  He lives in Middlebury, CT with his three rug rats and wife, Alexa.

Thank you to Alex for sharing your story and insights on how we as parents can help support our college-bound students freshman year. Transitioning to college is not easy. Parents have worked hard throughout their child’s years to support them as they navigate every stage of their lives. We have taught them to advocate for themselves, be confident and thoughtful in their decisions, and to be kind. Living away from home for the first time is not easy for many young adults. The “sink or swim” mentality can present a host of challenges so be present for your son or daughter. Listen to them, help them as they navigate their freshman year, and there are resources available to help students transition from high school to college. 

Episode 80 Full Transcript

If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on The College Scoops Podcast, just send an email to

Please take a moment to review or leave a comment for us and help us share the news of College Scoops with a friend, colleague, or family member.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter, and follow us on social media:

College Scoops Staff, Author

College Scoops has a team of college interns who share their insights and expertise with our community. Our team consists of editors, writers, videographers, social media experts, and storytellers who work hard to produce relevant and interesting content for students (and parents) whether they are applying to, attending or graduating from college.

Related Posts