Navigating the College Transition

Just before the holidays I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Josue Silva. Josue serves as an Admissions Counselor (more specially Coordinator of Diversity Recruitment) and is still pretty new in the professional world of higher education. Our conversation took us in all different directions as we talked about his college experience, post-college plans, and current role.

Josue is not foreign to transitions in life. In fact, within the last two years he graduated from college, explored three different career opportunities, moved multiple times, and returned to his college town for his current position. He would likely receive an award for handling so many transitions in such a short period of time (if there was such an award category).

It seemed best to pick his brain to gain more insight on his lessons learned from experiencing so many transitions, especially in such a short period of time. Students please note: this is solid advice to take with you as you look ahead to your transition to college!

A: What is your advice for someone moving to a new place, or more specifically transitioning to college?


1. Find your community, as it will be your anchor in a new place. In college maybe this is your athletic team, music ensemble, or another organization. For me it was music. My community of fellow musicians became my support group. They reminded me how great it was to have my struggles, my ups and downs, but in a supported and opened minded campus community. It made my transition be okay.

2. Don't be afraid to turn to professional staff members for support in college too. Faculty and staff on a college campus can truly help make the transition easier. Everyone on campus has gone through some sort of struggle and may have great advice to share. And I mean EVERYONE. Seek out connections with faculty, staff, and your admissions counselor as they may just prove to be a key support in your life.

3. Take advantage of all student activities, clubs and other events that catch your attention. Plus, look at the ones that could push you outside of your comfort zone. Find something you think you won't like? Try it anyway. Find a network through a new passion ... or through a continued passion. It is easy to want to stay in and not communicate. Be social instead! Overcome that initial hesitation and you will be bound to find people that will share your interests.

4. Know that all transitions take time. Talk to people around you. Tell them how you feel. Tell them what you do like. Tell them what you don't like. Share what you feel is needed to help you enjoy where you are more. That's why staff members are there (and why positions like mine exist!). They want to learn from your experience. Maybe it's not the right fit for you, but maybe there is something we can do or help you find to make it better. Maybe we can take action if it is within our power. It's all about having the conversations along the way.

5. Transitions are hard. Change is scary. But as long as you are willing to have that conversation with someone and tell people your fears "¦ that will be a weight off your shoulders that others can help you carry. And that will make a world of difference.