Leaving the nest: anticipatory guidance for the college-bound youth

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Purpose of review

The number of students enrolling in college is on the rise; however, the number of students dropping out is increasing as well. Given that the transition to attending college poses challenges with independent academic functioning, social adjustment, health behaviors, and lifestyle choices, the purpose of this review is to describe some of the issues that these students will encounter so that pediatricians can help teens who are going to college successfully transition to their new academic, social, and living environment.

Recent findings

Students who have the opportunity to go to college must successfully balance their scholastic commitments and their personal development outside the classroom. Their newfound independence poses several other challenges – obtaining adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise as well as risks related to alcohol use, drug use, and sexual activity.


Pediatricians can play an important role by counseling college-bound teens about these common issues, perils and pitfalls. With anticipatory counseling focused on these concerns, pediatricians can help foster the personal growth and social/intellectual development of teenagers to better prepare them for success in college and then later in life.

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