Local News

Seminar At St. Augustine's Helps College Students Cope With New Life

Posted June 23, 2001

— Here are some disturbing facts about college-bound students. On average, one third will drop out before getting a diploma, and not always because they cannot pass the classes. Many students dropout because they cannot cope with campus life. But there is help.

Seventy students are on St. Augustine's College campus this week, thinking about the end of their high school years and planning for college.

The Annual Phi Lambda Educational Foundation Youth Leadership conference focuses on building students' career awareness, academic and communication skills so they will find success in higher education. But what about their coping skills? Kids worry.

Psychologist Susan Orenstein worries too.

"They're expected to have initiative, which wasn't expected before of them. They're expected to handle more responsibility And they're losing their support network," Orenstein says.

Parents, old teachers, and friends are not as available to help solve problems. Orenstein offers College Bound for Success seminars. She helps teenagers become their own advocates in class and in dorms.

"(I help them learn how to) negotiate with a roomate when they're wearing your clothes and leaving them on the floor, or when there are guests coming over all the time or loud music in the morning."

Orenstein's private or group seminars help students with emotional goals, and support offered in the Phi Lamba conference give students new support networks to depend upon.

"At first it's going to be difficult. But once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to do it the rest of your life," says one student at the conference.

The shift does not have to be painful if young people are equipped.

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