Parent Information and Resources

Adjusting to College: Parent & Family Tips

Congratulations, you have made it this far. Your son or daughter is becoming a college student. This will require many adjustments for both you and your student.  The Pace Counseling Center is here to help!

During the transition to college, your student may experience feelings of stress, fear, or anxiety. These could be related to...


Your student may not realize how much they will miss the comforts of home and this may be equally unsettling or stressful for you as a parent. This makes it important for you to think about your own feelings when you hear from your student and he or she is sad or crying. Try to work with your student in establishing a routine of contacting each other on a mutually-convenient schedule. Encourage your student to start meeting new friends and help him or her find a comfortable niche at the university.

Stress Management:

In managing YOUR own feelings of sadness, stress, or anxiety about your student leaving for college, try to be mindful of how often you find yourself needing or wanting to call your student. You might be missing him or her more than you had anticipated. In this case, it may be helpful to turn to someone who can support you and listen to your feelings about this transition. We understand that this can be a stress-provoking time for not only your student, but for you as well.


As your student gains confidence in his/her ability to handle the stress of college life, you might notice them calling home less. They might also begin to make decisions which you do not understand or with which you are unhappy. It is important that you and your student talk about what both of you are experiencing from an open and honest perspective. This can be a difficult conversation to have. Talk about experiences of independence and work with your student, giving guidance and support as they begin to negotiate this process.

In conclusion—If you suspect that your student is having a difficult time, talk to him/her about what you’re seeing and feeling. Reassure your student that they have your support through your own cultural and family values. Help your student explore his/her interests as a means of figuring out how they can become more active and comfortable within the Pace Community. Encourage involvement in campus activities!

Common Questions Related to Counseling

Q: How can I help my student access services at the Counseling Center?
A: Begin by being open with your child about your own feelings. This includes encouraging your child to share her or his feelings with you as well. Validate their thoughts and emotions and offer yourself as a resource. Be prepared to talk to them about contacting the Pace Counseling Center and other resources to help your student cope.

Q: Is counseling only useful for those with serious and long term emotional problems?
A: Counseling can be for anyone who feels they need it, particularly for people feeling that they just need someone to talk to, students having relationship or academic difficulties, students struggling with a parent or other loved ones, or for anyone who just feels stressed.

Q: Do counselors give advice and provide solutions for students?
A: Counselors work to help students understand and begin to cope with their struggles on their own terms and in a way that works best for them. Counseling supports students as they learn to problem-solve and as they gain confidence in making important decisions.

Q: Will counselors have difficulty understanding or relating to my student’s problems because of culture, religion, sexual identity, or race?
A: The Pace Counseling Center is committed to understanding each client as a unique individual and aspects of personal  identity, spirituality, family culture, and ethnic heritage are all respected in the counseling relationship.

Q: Counselors don’t care; aren’t they just doing a job?
A: Each student matters. As counselors, our concern is with your student’s emotional and wellness needs.  In addition to providing counseling services, the Counseling Center staff frequently interacts with the Pace community by offering educational and interactive presentations on a variety of emotional and physical wellness topics.

Q: Who will know my student is seeking a counselor?
A: Confidentiality is required by law and is a major priority at our counseling center. All counseling center staff are dedicated to ensuring the security and anonymity of all student records, information, and visits. Any sharing of information outside of the counseling center is only done with the specific written consent of the student receiving counseling with us, even for parents. Counseling records are not kept as a part of a student’s educational record.

Depression, Alcohol, and Other Drugs

Depression is a condition that affects people of all ages,races,genders,and sexual orientations. When talking to your student, you might notice significant changes in their sleeping, eating, mood, or socializing.

Symptoms can take the form of an inability to concentrate or pay attention, decreased care about things that were once interesting, or getting involved in any types of risky or dangerous behavior. Your student might also experience depression in many different ways depending upon their culture or ethnicity. As a parent or guardian, you will look for, and talk about, depression in a way that is meaningful for you.

Inquire about their feelings by: planning a specific time to talk; meeting alone and in private; making sure there is plenty of time for a long conversation if you need one.

Encourage your student to get help by listening and not lecturing; not judging what they are saying or experiencing; focus on solutions and resources; and offer hope.

Refer your student to the Pace Counseling Center. This is most effective when you are personally involved during the referral process.

Talk to your student if you are aware or concerned about their use of illegal drugs, abuse of prescription medications, or engagement in potentially harmful behaviors associated with the use of drugs or alcohol. Topics such as underage drinking, driving while intoxicated, and the potential for addiction should be addressed.

The Pace Counseling Center offers services such as one-on-one counseling and referral to specialized treatment centers. 

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