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Beware of the Turkey Drop

The “turkey drop” can be one of two things.  It is often referred to when first-year students return home for Thanksgiving break and break it off with their high school sweethearts.  Suddenly the reality of a long distance romance and the temptations of college hit home and they want to return to school without a significant other.

For colleges, the “turkey drop” has a different meaning.  Schools have long identified the term with first-year students who struggle with adjusting to their college or university and return home over the Thanksgiving break to announce that they would like to transfer.  Several students struggle with homesickness or just feel that college was not everything they thought it would be.

USAToday.com published a story on the “turkey drop” phenomenon earlier this month.  The article advises parents to let the student “vent” and realize that doubts are a normal part of the adjustment process.  However, if the doubts persists, it is advisable for the student to obtain help.  Help can range from speaking to an advisor at the institution, such as an academic advisor, resident assistant or a peer mentor.  Formal counseling can also help.

My previous post on the transfer experience can offer insight on the process should a student decide that is the best route for them.  Remember that transferring is a big decision and it is important to explore all of your option before you jump to any conclusions and “drop” your current school.

Katherine Price

Educational Consultant

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  1. I remember this with my own five children, but it was after their first semester during their winter break. All vented concerns that they didn’t feel as happy as they expected to. I remindered them that one semester was not enough to feel as though you really belonged. It often takes a year. Each of them felt dramatically different at the end of their second semester and continued on to graduation. Parents need to teach kids to be resilient and find ways of making college into a successful experience. I would hope that as educational consultants we would have a better rate of success in helping students feel the fit is right from the beginning, but sometimes it takes a little time to adjust. Parents need to assure kids that this is normal and natural and be supportative in helping them make this new transition.

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