The Transition to College & Graduate School: Therapy for Students
The transition from high school to college is an intense time for emerging adults. Increased levels of independence that come from leaving home behind can be as invigorating as it is anxiety-provoking. Adjusting to the new environment of university, managing the roommate experience, and having to get used to a different rhythm that is incomparable to a high school schedule are just some of the changes college students go through in the very beginning of their journey. Other struggles include relationship issues, homesickness, mental illness, time management, family expectations, sexual health and more. Having a therapist that’s on your side and understands what you’re experiencing can provide the support you need to thrive in any stage of the college experience.
Affordable Services for College Students at The Center for Growth
At the Center for Growth we offer affordable therapy services for college students and graduate students via our intern therapists who receive expert-level guidance by senior staff clinicians. We understand how important it is for you to feel like your therapist “gets you”. Our intern therapists are students working towards graduate degrees, which can bring some comfort and camaraderie when discussing student life and common issues that you might be facing as a college student. You can work with an intern therapist that’s pursuing a graduate degree for $50-$100 per session. If you’d prefer a staff therapist, fees range from $120-$250.
What are Common Struggles Amongst College Students?
The transition to college might include things like leaving your friends behind and making new ones. You may feel stressed to not have the same level of access to familiar support systems. You may feel homesick, missing the familiarity of family meals, or your hometown activities. You might feel glad to be away from the place you grew up and excited about independence, but stressed about how to support yourself financially. All of these struggles are valid, and they look different person to person.
Balancing time in college, getting your assignments turned in and experiencing things like test anxiety, public speaking anxiety and struggling to suddenly become more “self-starting” are common occurrences when adjusting to college life. Student life is demanding regardless of what year you’re in. Having to suddenly “figure out” what you want to do for the rest of your life is a daunting task. Although there’s time to iron out all of those details, the various sources of pressure, as well as, the financial investment of college doesn’t give way to a relaxed approach when making these decisions.
If you’re a graduate student, what stage of life are you in? You might be attending graduate school directly from undergrad, or maybe you started your career and you’re returning to school. People attend higher education at all different stages of life, there is no “right time” to attend school. We have therapists that you can relate to, and can meet your needs regardless of where you are in your education journey.
In addition to experiences like homesickness, college students might also have trouble navigating an on-going relationship with family members as they progress throughout their college experiences. Well-meaning parents may have a hard time coping with their young adult’s independence, and struggle to “let go.”
You might be suffering with family expectations, and figuring out what you want versus what your family wants you to do in terms of educational goals. You might need help solidifying your individual vision. And this might get even more complicated if you are financially dependent on your family.
Students often need to navigate roommate situations, and new relationships with peers. Communication issues often arise with the growing pains of newfound independent living. A good therapist can help you to become a better communicator and figure out what relationships you want to invest your time and energy into.
Issues like self-esteem and fitting in often come up when students are in the classroom, and in social circles. Discovering who you are as a young, independent adult is a big part of the college journey. Who are you and what do you like? How does that differ from who you were in high school? And how can you stay true to yourself? These are all questions your therapist can help you to answer.
When seeking therapy as a student, sex is often a hot topic. Students adjusting to the college lifestyle are often making big decisions on their own for the first time. Some of these choices might revolve around birth control, sexual health and boundaries around sex. Consent is something that is rarely taught in school, but a good therapist can coach you and help you to understand consent so that sex is both physically and mentally safe and enjoyable.
When it comes to sexual identity, this may be the prime time to explore and learn to understand and embrace the varying aspects of your sexuality. You may have questions or a desire to explore gender as well, and it helps to have a therapist who understands the complexities here, and who can help you embrace wherever you are on the spectrum of gender and sexuality.
Challenges for Minority Students-
Unfortunately, there are specific challenges faced by minority students, ranging from racism, poor cultural understanding and for some students, feeling left out or overshadowed by white students. Minority students may experience micro aggressions which are often harder to address if you’re in a classroom full of white people. This may leave a minority student feeling invalidated, misunderstood and even traumatized. It can be hard to reach out to support if you don’t feel like the person you’re reaching out to will believe your experiences. Our therapists understand that racism in higher education is a huge issue, and we want to support students from marginalized communities by affirming your experiences and helping you navigate an unfair system.
It is not common for textbooks and lessons in the classroom to be white euro-centric, and for history to be read incorrectly. You also may be getting blatantly discriminated against and need support in escalating these issues through self-advocacy. You need someone on your side. The advantage of having a therapist outside of your school's counseling center is that we are not tied to your college or university, and our primary loyalty will remain with you.
Mental Health Struggles
College students experience an immense amount of stress and pressure from deadlines. There is a degree of stress and anxiety that are “normal” or to be expected. However, when stress turns into burnout, or triggers more serious and prolonged symptoms of anxiety and depression, it’s imperative to have a therapist to assess whether or not something more serious is going on. Anxiety and Depression. Luckily, at The Center for Growth, we have therapists who understand how Depression and Anxiety Disorders affect the college experience, and can assist you in navigating your life while managing symptoms. At the Center for Growth we also offer low fee Group Therapy experiences specifically for those suffering from Depression and Anxiety.
At the Center for Growth we also understand the need to work through struggles like anger, grief and loss, shame, trauma, jealousy, loneliness and difficult feelings in general. Life is not always easy, and it helps to have proper support on your side. We also have support groups that can provide community and an opportunity to feel like you can relate to others going through a similar experience as you are. Some of the support groups that we offer are: Grief and Loss Support Group, Herpes (HSV) Support Group, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD) Support Group, Mindfulness Support Group and many more!
Many people aren’t diagnosed with learning differences until they get into college or university, sometimes not even until graduate school or later in life. If you know you’re navigating a learning difference like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Autism, having a good clinician on your side to help you implement strategies that will make your education experience better for you is priceless. It’s also important to understand that learning differences look different from person to person. An example of this is that you don’t have to experience hyperactivity to meet criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), even though the name might seemingly suggest otherwise. When you have a skilled clinician who understands the nuances of learning differences, you are on your way to higher levels of self-discovery.
If you suspect you may have a learning difference, our therapists can help assess that and discuss options and the potential for accessing other resources to make your life easier. Regardless of whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with a learning difference, you may not have had the experience of obtaining and utilizing proper accommodations. An experienced therapist can help support you in advocating for yourself and your educational needs. There is more than one way to learn, and you deserve accommodations that help you to learn and thrive in the classroom.
Attending School with a Chronic Illness
Attending College with a chronic illness, or chronic pain can be an exceptionally challenging experience. It’s easy to feel isolated if you don’t have anyone to relate to, and as with learning differences, you deserve advocacy and accommodations that help to make your life easier during your college experience. At the Center for Growth we understand chronic pain and how it affects nearly every aspect of life, including your mental health. Regardless of your age, dealing with a chronic condition has severe implications. You may encounter ableism, descrimination or just feel left out, especially if your illness is not visible to others at first glance. At the Center for Growth we offer individual therapy to support college students experiencing chronic illness and/or chronic pain. We also offer a Chronic Pain Support Group for those to share their stories and gain support and community from other people going through similar struggles.
Therapy for College and Graduate Students Schedule Your First Appointment
The Center for Growth offers unique and affordable therapy services to college students and graduate students. To gain support through your college journey, you need someone who understands what makes it unique and challenging. Call 215- 922 - 5683 x 100 to speak to one of our intern therapists and set up a therapy appointment today. We have 2 locations in Philadelphia PA: Society Hill Therapy Office and Art Museum / Fairmount Therapy Office and in Mechanicsville VA: Mechanicsville Therapy Office and in Santa Fe NM: Santa Fe Therapy Office and in Ocean City NJ, Ocean City Therapy Office and we provide virtual counseling services in Georgia and Florida.
School Shout Out
We proudly welcome students from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Mexico, Georgia and Florida. In the Philadelphia area, we are familiar with what it’s like to attend college and graduate schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Temple University, Jefferson, University of the Arts, Community College of Philadelphia, La Salle University, Saint Joseph’s University, Chestnut Hill College, Moore College of Art and Design, Peirce College, Manor College, Philadelphia University, The Restaurant School, Virginia Tech, The University of Virginia, George Mason University, The University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and many more!
We offer individual counseling, couples therapy, family therapy and support groups.
Fees: $50-100 to work with one of graduate students who are pursuing a degree in counseling.
$120-$300 to work with one of our staff therapists.
Therapy Near Me
If you would like to schedule a therapy appointment, you are encouraged to look at our clinician's biographies and schedule online. Each therapists phone number is listed on their home page or you can call 215-922-LOVE (5683) x 100 (and follow the prompts for your state) and speak with one of our intake specialists or to call (267) 324-9564.