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In-Person or Online Learning? A College Transition Experience

Completing high school and choosing to attend college is a big deal. COLLEGE… Sounds scary, right? Professors; Expensive textbooks; Lectures; Exams; Homework; and meeting new people.

The transition from high school to college can be a daunting experience for just about anyone. Usually, individuals have some level of control and choice in what kind of school they attend or what they want to study. Students want to have a say in their overall college experience.

In-Person or Online Learning? A College Transition ExperienceOnline Learning vs. Traditional Classroom Setting
Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, there has been a significant acceleration in the availability of online learning, especially for college students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 15% of college students in the United States attended primarily online institutions in 2020. The appeal of online learning is that most institutions offer fully remote programs that benefit working students.

As a student myself, I truly valued having the opportunity and privilege to take online courses because I lived more than an hour away from campus. Online learning gave me more time with my loved ones and helped me gain responsibility and leadership skills throughout my online courses.

According to Cooke (2024), 70% of students agree that online classes are better than traditional classroom settings based on reduced expenses, schedule convenience, becoming more skilled with using technology, and better retention of learned information. Moreover, online learning can help students retain between 25% and 60% more information, compared to traditional classroom settings. Furthermore, if you are a student who cares about the environment, online learning also uses 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student compared to learning in a traditional setting.

Student Perspectives
There is little research in comparing students’ experiences of the two modalities of learning; online learning and traditional classroom settings. However, a study conducted by Frontiers in Psychology sought to examine undergraduates’ preference for academic performance, class material, and assessment in online learning and traditional classrooms. Students expressed a preference for completing activities face-to-face rather than online, but there was no significant difference in their test performance between the two modalities.

In addition, students expressed a strong preference for class discussions to be face-to-face, because they felt more engaged and received more immediate feedback compared to traditional learning. What is more interesting is that students in this study appreciated the convenience of completing writing activities online in their own time, but strongly preferred to discuss course content with their peers in a classroom setting rather than online. This study concludes that online learning and traditional learning lead to similar levels of academic performance, but ultimately it comes down to student preference in the type of learning that is most beneficial for their unique needs.

Choosing to attend college is a great start. Making the right decision about how to successfully achieve your academic goals is an even better start to your college journey.

Are you looking for a safe space to discuss decisions regarding college and further education? Together we can provide you support and guidance at Apple Psychological. See our website Apple Psychological to learn more about the services our practice offers, including the College Transition Team.

Cooke, C. (2024). In-person VS online learning statistics: The top list of 2024. Upskillwise. https://upskillwise.com/in-person-vs-online-learning-statistics
Hamilton, I. (2024). By the numbers: The rise of online learning in the U.S. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/education/online-colleges/online-learning-stats/
Kemp, N., & Grieve, R. (2014). Face-to-face or face-to-screen? undergraduates’ opinions and test performance in classroom vs. online learning. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01278

In addition, Apple Psychological offers other Support for parents and teens. Find out more information and Register HERE or book a free consultation by Clicking Here

How Can I Help My Teen Get Ready for College?

As a parent, it is hard not to worry about our kids. Of course, this is what we have been doing since they have been born. Is it possible that we are already thinking about them leaving the nest and living away from home? We want to take inventory of what we are doing as parents to support our children at home, because as well meaning as we are, we will not be there to provide this support when our children are living away from us at school.

Questions that you might consider when you are wondering if your child can thrive at school are: 

  • Does my child have good hygiene habits? 
  • Does my child know who to ask for help if he/she/they need it? 
  • Who does my child go to when they have a problem? 
  • Does my child know how to solve problems when they are faced with stress? 
  • Does my child know how to cope with multiple tasks at one time?
  • How does my child face challenges in his/her/their life?
  • Does my child know how to make healthy choices with regards to nutrition? 
  • Does my child have healthy sleep habits? 

Of course, while no child is perfect and realistically, teenagers are notorious for unhealthy habits, it is important that internally, they are aware of the choices that are best for them, even if they are not always making the best decisions possible. It is also important that they know who they can go to if they do not have the answer to a problem, and need help.

As a clinical psychologist, I have seen many cases in which teens who struggled with mental health issues in high school such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and trauma have gone off to college without the appropriate level of support and have significantly regressed in their mental wellness. The reason for this decline is often due to:

  • Difficulty with emotional regulation causing the teen to retreat to their bed and skip classes, miss assignments, and isolate themselves.
  • Lack of ability to cope with conflict combined with the lack of psychological support required to help the teen resolve conflicts that present themselves, especially during the transition to college.
  • The teen becoming overwhelmed with academic and social demands of college without the proper level of psychological and psychiatric support, again, especially as they are transitioning to college 
  • Avoidance of assignments or social situations that cause anxiety, which can result in social isolation or avoidance of academic tasks such as an assignment, or studying for a test. 
  • The teen having difficulty making friends or finding their social group, causing them significant anxiety, stress, or even depression.
  • The teen procrastinating when they become overwhelmed with academic demands due to executive functioning deficits such as time management deficiencies, as well as difficulties with planning, organization and prioritization.
  • Difficulty with tolerating stress or disappointment due to social rejection or poor grades and regressing in terms of their depression or anxiety.
  • The teen requiring psychiatric treatment due to increasing mental health issues or side effects of their current medication.

If you are concerned that your child might need support when they go away to school, consider getting them assistance through our First Semester Consultation Program. In this holistic preventative program, your teen will receive:

  • Psychological support weekly from a doctoral level therapist specializing in helping your teen have a smooth and easy transition to college
  • Bi-weekly Psychiatric support from a member of the psychiatric team
  • Team meetings by the psychiatric and psychological staff who will consult on behalf of your child’s treatment to create the best outcome for your teen and ensure success for their first semester. These meetings will be held with and without the Parents.
  • A review of their previous psychological records, assessments, and IEPs, which will identify their strengths and weaknesses, and will make recommendations for continued success in college.
  • Connections with your child’s school’s Student Service Support Center,  helping your  child learn the services they offer and how they can take advantage of these support services.   

With this supportive team approach, we truly believe that this can prevent teens who we know struggle with mental health issues to face the pitfalls that we have seen many times in our collective practices. Being in a supportive program can make the difference between a teen being successful in college, and coming home after having an emotional, and difficult setback, potentially holding them back from the important independent, young adult trajectory that we are hoping for them.


If you have any questions about this program, or want to learn more, please reach out to our team at: (917) 526-0766, visit our website at: https://applepsychological.com/contact-us/

or book a FREE consultation call at  https://applepsychological.janeapp.com/