Weather Forecast


Program offers tips for preparing for college

Many families with seniors in high school are in the midst of filling out college applications, scholarship forms and financial aid materials.

The excitement that families experience during this time of hopeful anticipation can be exhilarating, exhausting and sometimes confusing.

Even parents who have experienced college themselves find the changes in the education system and society as a whole to be more complicated than they remember. The transition to college is filled with many positive experiences, such as making new friends and taking on new challenges, which prepare students for success in adulthood.

Today's high school senior is also at risk of a number of mental and physical health risks when he/she enters college.

According to Dr. Richard Kadison, chief of Mental Health Services at Harvard University Health Services, a student in college today has the chance of almost one in two of becoming depressed to the point of being unable to function; one in two that binge drinking will become a regular habit and one in 10 students will seriously consider suicide.

The transition poses challenges for parents, too, as they watch their child take another big step toward independence and wonder how to stay connected while letting go, especially when their child may be hundreds of miles away.

A new program created by UW-Extension aims to help students and their parents to plan ahead for a smooth transition. The curriculum focuses on real solutions for managing stress and maintaining health during post-high school education including technical, community and four-year colleges.

The workshop series of three, two-hour sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings Nov. 30, Feb. 1 and March 22 at the Pierce County office building lower level meeting room from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Week one: Students and adults will learn about best practices for academic success and managing finances. Families will work together on a plan for "who pays for what?"

Week two: Students and adults will meet separately at first and then together as they talk about staying connected while letting go, making new friends while keeping the old, getting along with roommates, dating, values and diversity.

Week three: Students and adults will meet separately at first and then together as they talk about making healthy choices including topics related to stress management, sleep, nutrition, balance, personal safety, alcohol and drugs.

There is no cost to attend the sessions. Parents and students are strongly urged to attend together. Registrations are limited and are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Door prizes will be drawn at the last session.

For more information or to register, contact Lori Zierl, Pierce County UW-Extension Family Living Educator, at 715-273-6781.