22 Ideas to Make the Transition to College Easier


One minute children sit beautifully in elementary school with adults who hold hands, teaching them how to think and what to say, and guiding them every step of the way through all aspects of school. Come that last day of 5th grade and they’re thrust into the beast that is middle school with no teachers to pamper them and a whole new world of hormones, emotions, and social struggles.

1. Match new students with older students

Pairing 6th graders with older students can be a great way to transition students. A friend will offer them to someone to answer questions, show them around and put on a friendly face in the first few weeks.

Find out more: Edutopia

2. Encourage transitioning students to join clubs


Clubs are the perfect way for middle schoolers to meet new people. Because they join a club with a specific interest, students will instantly have things in common with others, making it easy for them to make friends.

Find out more: Science and literacy


Create a program for incoming college students to make them feel welcome. It can be a simple open house or a series of events to familiarize students with their new home away from home.

Find out more: Lesson Planet

4. College Here I am! Lesson


This lesson is perfect for 5th graders so they can familiarize themselves with what middle school is all about. From changing classes to practicing using a combination lock, this lesson covers things that most people don’t even consider, but that every kid is concerned about.

Find out more: Lesson Planet

5. Help transitioning students overcome learning challenges


Having a student with learning difficulties makes transitions a little more difficult. Preparing yourself and your child before the actual change gives you all a much smoother transition.

Learn more: Scholastic

6. Talk with them about their fears


Facing fears head-on often helps ease any worries your student may have. They might worry about the smallest things, but in their mind, it’s a big deal. Make a plan of action and assure them they have nothing to worry about.

Learn more: Scholastic


Asking your students to compare middle school and elementary using a Venn diagram can be a helpful resource. It can help them work through their feelings and emotions during this difficult transition and is helpful for their social-emotional learning.

Find out more: Twinkl


Work with your local colleges to compile a list of relevant survival tips for future college students. You can make it into a foldable mini-book, a digital lesson, or a 2-page PDF similar to the one in the link below.

Read more: WCSAD

9. List of FAQs to distribute


If there are a ton of questions about college, consider creating a list of frequently asked questions to help students answer the most common questions that 6th graders new to college will have.

Read more: CPS M-12

10. Send a list of helpful tips to students and families


If your school has a knowledgeable school counselor, he or she can create a list of helpful tips to help students transition from elementary to middle school. They can even add a list of common concerns for parents to help them relax.

Find out more: Edutopia

11. Explore the college website


A great place to start with minimal preparation to help kids feel a little more comfortable is to simply explore the school’s website. Staff directories, club and sports information, course offerings, etc. are all available at the click of a mouse.

Find out more: Grandes Ecoles


Organization is one of those skills that contribute to academic success. A big transition like this is the main opportunity to express the importance of organization and to get children into the habit of being organized so that they can be successful in their learning.

Find out more: Additude Mag

13. Field Trip and College Reflection


Most colleges have a college transition unit that coordinates things like field trips from larger feeder schools to invite and welcome new students. Take full advantage of these opportunities and get students thinking about their new life as middle schoolers with these resources.

Learn more: Counseling Essentials

14. Peer Pressured Bag of Tricks


The number of times children face peer pressure throughout a school day is unthinkable. Multiply that number by the college and you’ll end up with an exponential number. College life requires a bag of tricks to avoid peer pressure. This fun lesson is sure to give kids food for thought.

Find out more: Professor Julia’s room

15. Read: More tools to teach social skills


This practical book on teaching social skills will really give you a lot to think about and teach your future college students. Filled with role-play scenarios, easy-to-follow lesson plans, and worksheets, use this book to incorporate students’ social skills however you see fit to prepare them for a college class.

Learn more: Amazon

16. Preparing for college: fears and favorites


This two-part video series with children as spokespersons will prepare your children for this transition to college. Whether they’re nervous, excited, or just not ready, this video series explores the many aspects of college life for a successful transition.

Learn more: Spokane Public Schools

17. College Transition Video Series


This three-part series interviews real kids about their experiences moving from 5th to 6th grade and how they handled them. This presentation would be a perfect addition to the last weeks of school or for families to watch together.

Learn more: Professor Child


Flipgrid is a fun and interactive platform that would be a perfect way to create college transition lessons for other students. Students can quickly register their advice or fears with each other, and others can respond to support, encourage, and uplift students to be their best in this time of change.

Read more: New tutorials for students in the EdTech classroom


Assign outgoing 8th graders the challenge of creating a Padlet for incoming middle schoolers to compile a list of all their tips, tricks, and must-haves for that scary jump from 5th to 6th grade. This will empower older students and make younger students more comfortable.

Find out more: Padlet

20. I wish my teacher knew


This thought-provoking book will change your perspective on your students. It also creates the perfect platform to kick off questions your 5th graders might be embarrassed to ask in person. Allow them to use the same concept to ask anonymous questions about college that might come to mind so you can answer them and put them at ease in college.

Learn more: Amazon

21. Transition Guide from Primary to Middle


This practical guide can be used as a presentation or as is to help students learn the best ways to manage a change as big as this.

Find out more: Did you know?


Counselors and teachers can provide interesting and engaging lessons for 5th graders so they can get comfortable learning all the important information they need to calm their minds and hearts and prepare them for what’s to come. will happen.

Find out more: Advisor Up


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