Adjusting to College

Parent Newsletter article – Fall 2012, Issue 1

I think I’m constantly in a state of adjustment – Patti Smith

Patti Smith’s quote aptly describes many of our students at Penn College. Now is the time when students have adjustment problems and are in need of extra support from all avenues. You may already be seeing this state of adjustment with your student while settling into college life and realize the exciting adventure is now becoming just plain hard work.

Research has suggested that students experience five stages of college transition:

  • Honeymoon
  • Culture Shock
  • Initial Adjustment
  • Mental Isolation
  • Acceptance/Integration

As students move from the initial “everything is exciting and wonderful” to “wow, this is not what I expected” and through “I’m not sure where I feel completely at home anymore,” they will eventually come to feel that “Penn College is my home.” However, while going through these stages, it can be hard on a parent to know how to help them adjust.

Penn College has put several support measures into play to help your student make this transition process smoother. One such measure is called MAP-Works (Making Achievement Possible). On Tuesday, September 4, an e-mail was sent to every first-semester student inviting them to take a 20-minute transition survey. Please encourage your student to not only complete this survey, but to also print out the results to discuss with you. By looking at factors that could affect adjustment to college, such as campus involvement, number of hours spent studying, feelings of homesickness, etc., you and your child can work on strategies to help with the adjustment process.

In addition to MAP-Works, Penn College offers a variety of services that support students, but they may be unaware of these services or are hesitant to make use of them. Encourage your student that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of wisdom. Going to the Tutoring Center or Writing Center to get assistance with assignments can help with academic adjustment. Meeting with a faculty adviser, a college counselor, or academic mentor about problematic issues can give support to adjust personally. Joining an organization or volunteering in the community can make the social adjustment smoother. With your encouragement to use the resources available on the campus, you can make a difference in your student’s college life, even when you are far away.

A constant state of adjustment can be an unpleasant experience, but with your support and encouragement and the resources available at Penn College, we know that your student will be able to do it! Whether planning to be with us for two years or four years, Penn College is here to make your student's time successful. As a team, you and Penn College can help make the adjustment process move swiftly into that final stage of “Penn College is where I belong!”

Pennsylvania College of Technology
One College Avenue
Williamsport, PA 17701


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