It’s hard to hide the struggling with college coursework when a student back at home.  Being academically capable aside, students may not have the motivation to get work done.  They may be so far behind in their coursework that it seems impossible, or it may be impossible to actually dig out of before the end of the semester.  Regardless of real or perceived failing of college courses, it’s important for parents to know how to support your child.

Educating yourself on the implications of withdrawing will be the first step to help your young adult during this trying time.  Once you are aware of the different types of withdrawals and discuss with your young adult about which is the most appropriate, then it’s important to take necessary actions.

  1. First step is to make sure that they have officially withdrawn.  Trust your young adult to do it, and yet verify that you will not be billed for any remaining ancillary fees.
  2. Second step is to get your young adult connected to the resources they need to succeed.  Kindly get to the root of where the issues started before their grades were impacted.  If they are struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, substance use, or grief, just to name a few common issues, they need to be connected to mental health and addition treatment resources.
  3. Third step will be to not pressure them to enroll for the following semester until after they are stable, sober, and/or healed and ready to tackle their academic experience with a newfound sense of resiliency and ability to self-advocate.  College isn’t going anywhere!  Their mental health is much more important than staying on-track to graduate.  Realistically, they will graduate in a shorter time frame if you give them the space now to settle in to get the help, they need without the pressure to re-enroll in a short amount of time.
  4. Fourth and final step, to make sure they have a plan!  If they are choosing not to seek mental health or addiction treatment, that’s their choice.  They are now living back at home rent free, without going to school, and most likely currently unemployed.  Without a plan in place for them to relaunch, this can lead to a very ugly case of “failure to launch.”  You are not responsible for your young adult if you don’t want to be.  They need to leave the nest again.  It didn’t work the first time, but if you have a plan in place you can help them relaunch again.

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For questions or comments contact Joanna at 970-218-9958 or via email.


  • Joanna Lilley, MA, NCC

    Therapeutic Consultant / Young Adult Transition Specialist / College Success Coach

    Lilley Consulting

    After previously working at two institutions of higher education, specifically in Student Success & Retention, Joanna hung up her shingle to provide support for the flight of students leaving colleges campuses.  She now dedicates herself to working solely with emerging adults who unravel when they land on a college campus.  Her passion and drive is to coach this population back into good academic standing, or connect this population to mental health and substance abuse treatment programs that will provide stability, sobriety, and the executive functioning skills this population needs to move forward in life.  Most of her clients are currently enrolled on campus, or those who have already left feeling defeated.  With a magic wand, Joanna supports young adults with mental health issues with their the transition into adulthood and back into higher education.  Fear not, she works with the entire family system to help them heal and grow as this is not a "quick fix."  You can learn more about Lilley Consulting by checking out the website.  You can also listen to the Success is Subjective Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or any podcast listening platform where she interviews individuals across the country who took a break during their emerging adulthood years.  This podcast is ideal for young adults or families members who are looking for hope and relief in supporting a loved one.  When not working with young adults, you will find Joanna writing or playing outdoors with her rescue pup in the mountains of western Colorado.