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Parent and Family Resources

In addition to the services provided by Counseling and Health, you may need help in finding additional information about other resources, both on and off-campus for your student. Below you will find information on a variety topics and links to additional information online. 

If you have any questions or suggestions for other topics, please contact Scott Sokoloski 215.895.1415 or

Parent and family-specific resources:

Additional resources:

Helping Students in Crisis

On occasion a student may request to meet with a counselor immediately due to an emergency situation. There is an on-call counselor available 24 hours-a-day to help your student through this crisis. If the crisis occurs during normal business hours, the student may call the Counseling Center at 215.895.1415 and request to be seen as soon as possible. He or she may also come directly to the Counseling Center, located in Room 201 of the Creese Student Center. If a crisis occurs after normal business hours or on a weekend or holiday, the student may call the on-call counselor at 215.416.3337.

Helping your Student Adjust to College

As your student embarks on his or her college career and transitions from child to adult, you may be unsure of what to expect. What changes will occur over time as your student develops new friends, interests, or experiences unusual stressors? The following information is from an article by the University of Delaware's Center for Counseling and Student Development.

Changes You Might Expect in Your Student

Most parents report the experience of sending a son or daughter to college as one filled with anticipation, anxiety, confusion and hope. By opening day of the freshman year, many changes have already begun to happen. The student becomes more independent, gains competence in new areas, and learns to develop healthy peer relationships. The college years are a time for a student to continue maturing and learning how to manage oneself and life in general. What does that mean for you as a parent? Here are some of the messages you may hear:

  • "Help!"/"Don't help!"

    It is sometimes frustrating for parents to go through the growth process with their students, not knowing how to be helpful and receiving messages which are unclear or incomplete. Students may add to the uncertainty by changing rapidly - rejecting your help on Tuesday and actively seeking it on Wednesday. We've often heard about parents in great distress because their student predicted a poor outcome on an exam, but forgot to provide an update when the results were better than expected.

    As a parent, it can be difficult to know when to help, when to step back, and/or how worried to get. Usually a parent's best guideline is to provide a steady, supportive home base while recognizing that there will be ups and downs in students' needs and expectations. Try to follow the leads of the students and encourage them to work through a problem with you acting as the coach or cheerleader. Help them balance their thoughts and emotions to make their best decisions. Let them know that you respect their right to make a decision and that you will serve as an advisor when asked. Remind yourself to notice and appreciate their new skills they develop; students often want their families to recognize their progress toward becoming adults. And, remember to take care of yourself in this "Help!"/"Don't help!" process that may cause you a lot of confusion and exhaustion.
  • "So whose decision is it anyway?"

    Most parents have a high investment in their student's decisions. Problems arise, however, when parents are more invested than students. It can be hard to lessen involvement in a student's decisions out of fear that the student won't assume responsibility. The irony is that students often don't step up to the task of being responsible until parents step back. After all, it's easier to ignore problems when someone else is worrying about them!

    Taking a step back as a parent is uncomfortable, and at times frightening, because there is no guarantee that students will assume responsibility nor that they will make the same decision as you would. The fear that the student is not accepting responsibility in the interim makes most parents lose a lot of sleep. There is, however, no need to walk away disinterested and/or frustrated. Consider providing a concerned voice ("We're interested in what you decide, but we know you have to sort this out for yourself.") and remind yourself that you are helping by working with your student on developing his/her own decision-making skills.
  • "College is different than I thought it would be."

    For many students, coming to Philadelphia means finding out what college and life are about. It means learning that being a nurse means more than taking a patient's temperature and that psychology isn't necessarily the major for "people who like helping others." It also means learning how to study and how often to study. Academic expectations are more rigorous than in high school. Students accustomed to receiving "A's" and "B's" have to work much harder to earn the top grades in college. They also have to figure out when they should be studying and how to motivate themselves to do so. Ultimately, they learn when to ask for help and when to resolve issues on their own.

    Coming face-to-face with new challenges is common in college. Finding support in dealing with these challenges is equally important. Drexel University has many resources (e.g. counseling, academic advisement, health education, and much more) to address students' needs. In their quest for independence, students sometimes assume that being an adult means it isn't necessary to ask questions. Parents can remind students that asking questions and using available resources reflect maturity - and that doing these things does not detract from their autonomy or growth as an adult. At the same time, parents and other family members can serve key roles in providing the support needed. Students tell us that it is important to know that their parents will offer consistent support as they venture out to meet the world. The influential role which parents have in the lives of students continues through college and beyond.
  • "I'm back!"

    The first visit home from college is usually an interesting one for the entire family. Students may return home thinking that their newly found independence will be recognized and appreciated by the family. In contrast, parents and siblings continue to live in their usual style and generally expect that the established "house rules" will still apply.

    Parents can anticipate that their expectations will differ from those held by students during those first visits home. Instead of creating a situation in which a battle ensues, seeking a compromise that honors both the family's needs and the growing independence of the student might be an appropriate goal. If your son or daughter is commuting to school from home, consider the ways in which his or her new level of responsibility and independence will be acknowledged in the home.

We recognize that what your student's experiences may be significantly different than what is discussed here, and it is not possible to predict and describe how differently you and your family may react. The key to a successful adjustment to college lies in communication with your child, as well as reliance on available resources that can help him or her to be a thriving student. The staff at Drexel’s Counseling Center are available for consultation or for questions you may have. Please call us at 215.895.1415.

Identifying Students in Distress

During your student’s time at Drexel, he or she may be challenged by new academic, personal, or social stressors. While most students will be able to manage these challenges, some will find that they are too difficult and overwhelming to handle.

Your role as a parent is also a challenging one. While your student might be away from home, you may still be the first person to notice a change in your child’s behavior, mood, or attitude. He or she may express a variety of emotions, including feeling afraid, socially isolated, vulnerable, depressed, or anxious. Academic performance may decline, and you may notice an increase in disruptive behaviors or alcohol/drug use. In rare cases, your student may even have suicidal thoughts, or make a suicide attempt. If you become aware of these changes, talking with him or her about your concerns can make a difference in saving your student’s academic career, not to mention his or her life. Directing your student to the Counseling Center should be an important part of your discussion.

Please be aware that the staff of the Counseling Center is also available to consult with you about any concerns you have about a student. We can help you to assess the situation, determine when and how to intervene, and direct you to possible resources on- or off-campus. To consult with a counselor, please call us at 215.895.1415.

Signs and Symptoms of a Student in Distress

Each of us will experience some form of problem or concern at various points in our lives. It may be difficult to know what exactly to look for when dealing with your distressed student. These are some of the signs and symptoms that could indicate that a student is experiencing difficulty.

  • Excessive procrastination and poorly prepared work, especially if this is inconsistent with previous work.
  • Infrequent class attendance with little or no work completed.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Listlessness, lack of energy, or frequent falling asleep in class.
  • Marked changes in mood or personality.
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene.
  • Repeated requests for special consideration.
  • Impaired speech or garbled, disjointed thoughts.
  • Increased aggressiveness.
  • Suicidal thoughts, either directly (referring to suicide as an option), or indirectly (“It doesn’t matter…I won’t be here for the final exam.”).
  • High levels of irritability, unruly, or abrasive behavior.
  • Inability to make decisions despite repeated attempts to clarify and to encourage.
  • Dramatic weight loss or weight gain.
  • Bizarre or strange behavior, speech or mannerisms.
  • Normal emotions that are displayed to an extreme degree or for a prolonged period of time, e.g., fearfulness, tearfulness, nervousness.

Please remember that the presence of one of the above signs does not necessarily indicate that your student is in distress. They may be brief in duration, or low in level of severity. However, if you believe your student is experiencing one or more of these signs over a period of time, or if the symptoms he or she displays are severe, you may wish to speak with your student about seeking professional help. Direct him or her to the Counseling Center to schedule an appointment.

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

If you think a student might have a substance abuse problem, intervening can be very important for his or her health. There are some signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of a problem, or that someone is at risk of having a problem with drugs or alcohol:

  • You have heard reports or seen the student drinking excessively.
  • The student has been involved in disciplinary actions as a result of alcohol or drug intoxication.
  • The student's grades have suffered because of excess substance use.
  • The student has been involved in accidents in which alcohol is involved.
  • The student misses classes or appointments because s/he is hung over.
  • The student is having difficulties in relationships with peers because of his or her excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
  • The student has been involved in sexual activity he or she later regrets.
  • The student has had erratic emotional outbursts.
  • The student has 'black outs'.
  • The student is unable to modify his or her drinking or drug use.
  • The student has experienced weight loss, medical difficulties, or is exhibiting poor hygiene.


Counseling with your student are confidential. This means that we will not discuss any details of their counseling experience with you, including confirming that they have attended a scheduled session. This may be difficult, in particular because you are concerned for your student’s welfare. However, our goal is to provide a safe environment for him or her to talk about their concerns in private.

Please be aware that we are obligated to break confidentiality if there is any concern about your student’s safety or the safety of others or in cases of ongoing child or elder abuse.

The content provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, nor should it replace the consultation of a trained medical or mental health professional. Please note that outside links are not under our control, and we cannot guarantee the content contained on them.