Seton Hall University
Mother and daughter at Seton Hall Weekend.

Information for Parents and Families

The College Transition: What to Expect

College is a time of transition for young adults as they move toward their pursuit of academic and professional goals. For many, this will be their first time away from home. Not only will the rigors of college level courses feel challenging, but students are also in the process of navigating a new social environment. Living in residence halls, meeting new people, and managing their own time are just some of the many challenges facing university students. As with any major life transition, individuals may experience feelings of loss, anxiety, denial, fear and anticipation.  While it is helpful to encourage your child's independence during this time, remember that they will continue to need your support. More helpful information for parents of first year students can be found here

How Can I Support My Child with the Transition to Seton Hall?

  • Stay in Touch
    While your child may be away from home, it is important to stay in contact with them. Reach out and let them know you are still there to offer them whatever support they might need. Whether you are around the corner, in the same house or live far away, your student needs your support and encouragement.
  • Encourage Them to Develop Contacts
    Coming to college and meeting new people can be daunting. Remember that your child is likely to have gone to high school with friends they have known throughout their lives. College presents new social challenges as students begin to meet and now live with new people. Encourage them to reach out to others and forge friendships. If your  child is having difficulty meeting other students, encourage them to join clubs and teams, and to establish relationships with professors or mentors.
  • Model Self-Care
    Not only is college a stressful time for students, but it can also be stressful for family members. It is normal to feel sad, relieved, ambivalent, nervous, and overwhelmed. Make sure to get the support you need during this period of transition so that you can be available to your child. It is common to experience ups and downs. Model for your student how important it is to take care of your overall physical and mental health.
  • Encourage Opportunities for Independence
    For parents, it is often difficult to lessen involvement with college-aged children. It is difficult to take a step back because of uncertainties about how your child will handle making responsible decisions and choices.  However, college is a time when young adults move towards greater maturity and independence. They cannot do this easily without the confidence and encouragement of their loved ones. As members of the university, students choose their classes, extra-curricular activities, and what they will do with their free time. Encourage opportunities where your child can manage these opportunities independently. Respect child choices and offer your guidance and feedback when and if it is solicited. Provide your student with the space needed to set their own agenda while making yourself available for consultation and support. Talk about issues of financial independence. Encourage him or her to explore various choices and opportunities available to them as university students.

Signs That Additional Support is Needed

Help from Counseling and Psychological Services may be warranted if your student is experiencing any of the following:

  • difficulty with concentration
  • dramatic mood swings
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • changes in sleep or appetite
  • panic attacks or excessive worrying
  • poor performance at school or work
  • recent loss, such as death of a loved one, loss of a significant romantic relationship or a friendship
  • conflict with family, friends, or significant others
  • isolation from family and friends
  • feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or depression

What Can I do if Child Needs Counseling?

If you are concerned and believe that your child might benefit from counseling, please encourage him or her to call or come into our office to set up an appointment. If your child is not yet willing to call the office, you may call and ask to speak to one of our staff clinicians for guidance on how to manage the situation.

You can also find more information about supporting students by visiting the Seton Hall University Suicide Prevention site. The site provides suicide prevention education, guidance, and resources for the Seton Hall community, including students, faculty/staff, and parents.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides short-term individual counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention, consultation, and referral services to Seton Hall University students. Services are provided free of charge to SHU students. Services obtained by our students are confidential and information cannot be disclosed to anyone without written permission from the client. Our office is located on the second floor of Mooney Hall, Room 27. Our normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Students may come in or call to set up an initial appointment at (973) 761-9500 during normal business hours. If they are experiencing a psychological crisis, they may come in during normal business hours and ask to speak with a counselor. CAPS has partnered with Uwill which offers students free immediate access to teletherapy and wellness programming through its easy-to-use online platform. This allows students to meet with mental health professionals virtually in a way fits their schedule outside of normal office hours.

After hours in case of a psychological emergency, students or parents may call the SHU 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 973-275-Help (4357) to speak with a trained mental health counselor. 

If your child is having serious thoughts of killing themselves or hurting someone else, go to the nearest Emergency Room or call 911.