As a parent, there are a few milestones that I can recall vividly. One that especially stands out is the time where I dropped off my daughter and then my son at college. I remember how hard it was to say good-bye. And I remember that feeling I had when the same question ran through my mind the entire way home. “Did I do all that I could to prepare them?”
And apparently I’m not alone. I’ve had countless coffee chats with friends that have wondered the same thing.
It seems that before our kids head off to school, we do everything and anything we can to prepare them academically and financially. We go to great lengths to help organize and decorate their teeny tiny dorm rooms. We buy cleaning supplies that are never used, pencils that never get sharpened, and boxes of macaroni and cheese that end up somewhere between a dust bunny and a lost sock!
All of things are good and helpful, but according to the The First-Year College Experience Survey, (conducted by Harris Poll for The JED Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and The Jordan Porco Foundation) we often miss helping our kids prepare emotionally, a major factor to students’ success their first year of college.
The organizations involved in the study define emotional preparedness as “the ability to take care of oneself, adapt to new environments, control negative emotions or behavior, and build positive relationships.”
And, what may be surprising to some parents, a majority of all students (60%) wish they received more help to prepare emotionally for college.
Yes, they want help to be emotionally ready for this first of many transitions into young adulthood!
This info-gram shares more surprising results from the survey.
Preparing Your Teens For A Successful Transition to College
SO WHAT’S A PARENT TO DO?
Feeling stressed the first year of college is probably not surprising. But, hearing that 50% of the students reported feeling stressed most or all of the time is very surprising.
THREE WAYS TO HELP YOUR STUDENT SUCCEED IN COLLEGE
So how can you help your student prepare emotionally for college, or for young adulthood itself?
1. Encourage your student to name his feelings. Naming your emotions is the first step to self awareness and being able to choose an intentional response. So many times, we sweep our feelings under the rug, but they actually serve a purpose. Feelings are data points. They are clues to making decisions, choices, overcoming challenges, navigating conflict, and all sorts of other life circumstances. You can help your student identify their feelings, by starting to do it yourself! Push yourself to think beyond happy, sad, angry, and excited. Consider all the other possible emotions when you name your own feelings. Check out Plutchik’s Model of Emotions.
2. Help your student move from reacting in a moment, to taking some time to choose an intentional response. Students with emotional intelligence recognize their emotions and use strategies to navigate them so they can reach a positive result. They apply consequential thinking and are optimistic when they hit roadblocks. Students with high emotional intelligence also have something other than grades driving their effort. Help them to find what is intrinsically motivating them to give their best to their college experience.
3. Encourage your student to look beyond herself and consider the impact she can have on others. Students with high emotional intelligence have the ability to extend empathy towards others. They also have a sense of purpose that shapes their long-term choices. Help your student recognize how they have been uniquely designed, and dream big about their mission in life.
4. Enlist the help of an Emotional Intelligence Coach. More than half the students found it difficult at times to get the emotional support they needed while at college. 76% said they turned to friends, 64% to family. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the key ingredient to help your student learn to apply both thinking and feeling to make optimal decisions.
Students who rely on their EQ are better able to stay focused on the critical path. Research indicates that 90% of top performers have greater than average EQ. Students with high levels of EQ have high self awareness, so they can clearly see how they feel and what they do. They do what they mean to do, instead of reacting on auto-pilot. And finally, they can align everything they do to a bigger vision so they don’t get caught up in going along with the crowd. This is why Harvard Business Review says EQ is “the key to professional success.”
To learn more about Emotional Intelligence, and how you can help your student, visit my website at www.EQcoaching.net or contact me via email at kelli@EQcoaching.net. It’s never too early to start creating a culture at home that builds the skills needed to be emotionally intelligent.
You can also register for a FREE introductory workshop that takes a closer look at this topic and outlines some quick and easy ways to start preparing your student.
About Kelli Schulte
I have the best job on the planet! I get to help you dream, explore, plan, learn, develop, and create the best version of yourself. As a coach, my heart beats for helping you grow in your emotional intelligence (EQ) so you can make a greater impact, build stronger relationships, achieve balance, and live a fulfilling life. I love working with leaders, parents, students, and young adults.
With over 25 years of experience as a Performance Consultant, my focus is on helping individuals and corporations achieve their personal and leadership goals. My combined experience working as a consultant with Fortune 100 organizations, and working with students and adults in church ministry gives me a unique coaching platform.