The Top 5 Ways to Help Your College Freshman Thrive Socially, Emotionally and Academically

Written By Marc Lehman, Owner and Family Therapist at


The college experience is a time of great exploration. For many students, it is the first time living away from home, making new friends and navigating coursework independently. While college can be an exciting time, it can also be challenging both socially and emotionally. As a parent, you may be wondering how you can best support your student during this transition.

Here are the top 5 ways to help your college freshman thrive socially, emotionally and academically:

  1. Encourage Them to Seek Out Counseling Services Early On

If your student is struggling to adjust to college life, encourage them to seek out counseling services early on. Many colleges offer counseling services to students, which can be incredibly helpful in managing stress, anxiety and depression. Virtual counseling has also become increasingly popular, as it allows students to receive counseling from the comfort of their own dorm room or apartment.

  1. Help Them Find Their Niche

One of the best ways to help your child thrive socially and emotionally in college is to help them find their niche. This could involve joining a club or student organization that aligns with their interests, participating in intramural sports or simply finding a group of friends with similar hobbies and interests. When students feel like they belong somewhere on campus, they are more likely to stick with it and succeed academically as well.

  1. Stay Connected but Respect Their Space

It can be tempting (and at times even necessary) to check in with your child frequently during their first year of college. However, it is important to respect their space and allow them to grow independently. While you should absolutely stay connected, try to limit yourself to weekly check-ins rather than daily calls or text messages. This will allow them the freedom to explore their new environment without feeling like they have to report back home every step of the way.

  1. Help Them Set Realistic Expectations

The first year of college can be brutal academically and socially – but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it! Help your child set realistic expectations for their first year so that they know what they’re getting into and can better prepare themselves for the challenge ahead. It’s also important that you remind them that there is no shame in seeking out help when they need it – whether that means hiring a tutor or meeting with their professor outside of class.

  1. Celebrate Their Successes…Big and Small!

Last but not least, don’t forget to celebrate your child’s successes – big and small! Whether they land an internship, make the Dean’s List or simply survive their first semester away from home, take the time to acknowledge their hard work and remind them how proud you are of their accomplishments. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping them stay motivated throughout their college career!

College can be an exciting but challenging time for students – but with the right support from parents, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! By following these simple tips, you can help your freshman thrive socially, emotionally and academically throughout their first year (and beyond).

Marc Lehman

Owner and Founder of U ARE HEARD LLC