Parent and Family Engagement

Student Transition

  • Starting college for students is a major transition. It can be exciting and just what your student has been waiting for, but it can also be a bit overwhelming and intimidating. This part of our website is designed to give you some sense of what to expect as your student navigates the new world of Seattle U. It can be reassuring to know that most students experience similar issues in their first year at college, and most adjust to the new environment successfully.

    We also want to acknowledge that most parents experience some anxiety as they prepare for their son or daughter to begin college. We want to reassure you that the university has an extensive support system for students to assist them in making the transition successfully. From our two-day "Summer in Seattle" orientation for freshmen and parents, our fall Welcome Week for first year students, to academic support services, to residence hall and collegia staff, and peer leaders who help students connect socially to our campus, we are ready to assist your student. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you feel that we can be of assistance.

    Adjusting to the academic environment can be of special concern to some students and of great worry to many parents. College coursework is more challenging, and it is not uncommon for grades to slip a bit. Students who did well in high school with very little work may find that they need to "really" study in order to do well. It can also take some time to learn how to balance academic and social life. If students are struggling, various academic support services on campus can help them get the support they need. Please refer the Academic Life section of this webpage.

    Your relationship with your student is likely to change as a result of the college experience. At SU, students are exposed to people with many different interests, beliefs, and viewpoints. You may notice that your student's interests and belief systems start to change, or that the introvert blossoms into an extravert (or vice versa).

    This is a natural process of young adults questioning who they are, and working to create a sense of identity separate from the family. Trying on new ideas and new interests is part of the college experience. Also, don't be surprised if students have a different major in mind each time they call home. No doubt a new course has excited them, and made them think differently about the world. As students progress into their sophomore and junior years, they begin to settle -- into majors, ideas, identity and interests.

    College is also a time when students experiment with independence, with defining who they are, and testing limits and boundaries. The new sense of freedom and responsibility may be most obvious to you when your residential student returns home for a weekend or vacation. On-campus students set their own schedules, deciding when to come and go, what time to go to bed, when to study, etc. It may be a difficult adjustment to come home to "old" rules. Being able to talk about these changes as a family may be helpful in smoothing any tensions.

    One of the ways that Seattle University reinforces our students' development into adulthood is by treating them as adults. Students are assumed to be able to manage their own affairs. In addition, they are responsible for their behavior and held accountable to university policies. If issues arise related to academics or behavior, we will work directly with the student to resolve them.

    At the same time, we do feel that there are specific situations in which it is appropriate for parents to be involved. These include when a student is hospitalized, or unwilling or unable to care for themselves. In certain disciplinary cases, when the consequences are removal from the residence halls or probation or dismissal from the university, the university may also be in touch with the parents.