College is different from high school.  What is expected of students is different.  An awareness of these differences can help both parents and students and will help promote a successful college experience.

In High School:
  • Teachers give daily assignments.

  • Students do most work in class, less at home.

  • Grades are based on class work as well as homework.

  • A bright student may get by with a minimum amount of work.

  • Study halls are part of the school day.

  • There are frequent quizzes and tests.

  • College bound students typically receive mainly A and B grades.

In College:
  • Assignments appear on a syllabus.

  • There are relatively few hours spent in class, many more hours doing homework.

  • Students receive several assignments early in the semester, to be done outside of class, due at a later date.

  • The subject matter is more difficult than in high school; there are many bright students and much more competition.

  • Study halls are not scheduled; non-class hours are called "free time".

The life of a college student involves opportunity, excitement, and stress. While experiencing everyday ups and downs is a part of life, some students encounter difficulties that interfere with their functioning. As a parent, you are often the first to recognize when your son or daughter is experiencing distress, and in many cases you may be the first person your child will talk to about concerns.

If you notice that your son or daughter is having difficulties, you can provide a great deal of help by simply being willing to listen in an open and non-judgmental way. You can also encourage your child to seek additional help, particularly if their difficulties are persistent, or are interfering with their daily activities.

Here are some of the signs that may indicate a need for additional assistance:

  • Persistently depressed, irritable, or anxious mood

  • Changes in behavior- e.g. becoming more quiet or withdrawn

  • Changes in appetite, and/or weight changes

  • Changes in sleeping patterns

  • Academic difficulties- e.g. falling grades, skipping classes, low motivation

  • Loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities

If you notice your child experiencing some of the signs listed above, you may want to encourage him or her to seek additional help. Counseling Services is available to provide individual and couples counseling for students at UMSL.

In addition to helping students manage personal issues, Counseling Services also provides a number of on-line resources for students, including a new webpage with information and strategies on Choosing a Major.

We can also assist students who are in a state of crisis.  In order to schedule an appointment, a student can simply call or come by Counseling Services during regular office hours. (8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday.)  After hours or on weekends, crisis assistance is available through Campus Police (314) 516-5711, or Life Crisis Services (314) 647-HELP (4357).

Counseling Services staff is also available to consult with parents who are concerned about a son or daughter. If you are wondering how to assist your child, or wondering if your child could benefit from counseling, feel free to call us. Because of confidentiality, we are not permitted to disclose whether or not a particular student is being seen for counseling, or what is discussed during sessions.

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