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Let’s Get “Set to Go” – A New JED Program

April 27, 2017


A New Program

All transitions, big changes and exciting new beginnings can be challenging and the transition from high school to college is no different. Coupled with the fact that the late teen and young adult years are a vulnerable time for developing mental health issues, JED developed Set to Go to help support young people through this critical time period.

Historically, most of the college prep culture in schools and communities focuses on preparing students academically for this big change. Taking the right courses, getting good grades, building resumes with extracurricular activities, and preparing for and taking the SATs are all primary prep activities that take place in the late high school years. But emotional preparedness for college and the greater independence that comes with leaving high school are often overlooked. Students spend so much time thinking about how to get to college, as opposed to how to handle this transition, that when they finally get there, quite a few students flounder. This is particularly true for students with pre-existing health or mental issues who do not effectively plan for changes in their care – making transition planning even more important.

JED created Set to Go to assist students, families and high school educators with the college selection process, life skills development and thinking through how to prepare for specific challenges that could come up during the first weeks, months and year on campus.

The Framework

Set to Go addresses the transition from high school to college through a framework of five specific domains:

College in Perspective

For 10th, 11th and early 12th graders, their families and their educators, College in Perspective helps you think through college options, goals, resources and abilities. It’s not just about getting into the best brand name school, there are a lot of factors to consider. The College in Perspective domain walks you through the value of a college education, the importance of keeping the whole application and selection process in perspective, and, most importantly, what to consider when finding the best emotional and social college fit.

Students involved in applying to and eventually selecting a college to attend would use the College in Perspective resources to help guide that process. Families and high school educators might help students with this by familiarizing themselves with this information and having meaningful conversations about college choice and fit. The concept of “fit” is explored in depth and evaluated by using The Right Fit Worksheet. This downloadable resource describes various considerations related to college fit, helping to guide a holistic approach to college selection and addressing each student’s individual needs and concerns.

Basic Life Skills, Social and Emotional Skills, & Mental Health and Substance Abuse Literacy

High school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors can all benefit from accessing the information provided in the Basic Life Skills, Social and Emotional Skills and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Literacy domains. These areas are meant to help enhance students’ knowledge, awareness and skills in the key areas that are important for independent living and young adulthood. Acknowledging and addressing these domains throughout the high school years will help support young people when it comes time to graduate. We are all vulnerable to challenges and setbacks. The hope is for high school students to feel equipped in these basic areas to ultimately make it easier to manage big changes, exciting new beginnings and even adversity.

  • Basic Life Skills are an important part of growing up and learning how to take care of yourself. This part of the Set to Go framework provides guidance for managing your physical and emotional health, your finances, your time and your belongings.
  • Social and Emotional Skills addresses how to manage emotions, set and achieve goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. Understanding the social and emotional dynamics of life will help student’s manage the changes to their routine, environment and social circle that might come up during this transition period. During the high school years students become more mature physically, emotionally and socially.
  • With all of these changes many young people experience some degree of emotional turmoil and some begin to show signs of emotional problems which, when they become serious, we call mental illness. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Literacy provides an overview of these issues and how to seek help if problems emerge.

The Transition to College

For 12th graders, high school graduates, first year college students and the people who support them, The Transition domain explores common transition and adjustment concerns that young people face during the shift from high school to college. Topics include dealing with greater independence, relationship changes, dealing with pre-existing health or mental health issues on campus, adjusting to college as a first-generation college student and so much more.

For students who have ever dealt with mental health concerns, transitioning care from the home setting to the college setting is a critical step when preparing to live on campus. Set to Go offers in-depth guidance about how to plan for, think about and manage the transition of mental health care to the college environment with the Transition of Care Guide and Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health.

Looking Ahead

In this first phase of the program, Set to Go acts as a comprehensive online resource center or textbook for learning about any and all topics related to preparing for the emotional transition out of high school and into college. In the coming months and years, JED will work closely with high school students, their families and high school educators to bring this information to life – in school curriculums, in communities, around the dinner table and among friends. Stay tuned!

Join the conversation using #JEDsettogo

Get Set to Go! Visit settogo.org.

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