top of page
  • Staff Writer

How Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Can Improve Your Students Success in College

Transitioning into adulthood is a challenging period in your student's life. They are changing and growing, which creates many new difficulties. Part of growing up is learning independence and self-responsibility. However, these are skills that require your student to understand themselves, including their thought and behaviors. Learning to live as an independent adult is even more difficult for adolescents struggling with mental health disorders, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or executive functioning difficulties. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help.

While working with a therapist and CBT, your student can learn how to address the root of the issues they are experiencing. It will help them to recognize how they think, feel, and act. Additionally, they will learn how to make adjustments to these patterns in order to create lasting change.

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is a commonly used form of psychotherapy that combines both cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. To understand CBT, it is helpful to know what these therapies are focused on. The goal of cognitive therapy is to help clients form a clear picture of their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and expectations. In doing so, individuals can address false beliefs. This is helpful as the belief around a situation's meaning is often what causes distress. Alternatively, behavioral therapy focuses on behaviors and choices. The goal is to learn how choices impact the client. Does a pattern help or hurt?

In adolescents, CBT will be uniquely focused on the individual. Therefore, if your student struggles with beliefs, thoughts, or actions that are creating issues in their lives, CBT will help our student to understand them. CBT can be particularly helpful if your student is struggling with any of the following:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Cognitive functioning skills

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

  • Failure to launch

Improved College Success With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Your student's thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and behaviors all play an important role in their college success. By addressing the things that are inhibiting their success, CBT can help to improve learning, motivation, behaviors, and mental health. All of these will help your student to be more successful in the classroom. Additionally, these skills will go beyond college. By practicing and building new and effective patterns, CBT can help your student thrive as an adult.


The cognitive process of learning requires planning, monitoring, and sometimes replanning. While part of learning is based on the environment, most of the learning process is going on inside your student's mind. Therefore, their understanding of how they think and can adjust their thinking will play a role in their ability to learn.

Through CBT, your student can start to see what mental processes are going on internally. While CBT will look at cognitive processes in and out of the classroom, the knowledge of their patterns will help them to see what is inhibiting them from learning effectively.

Behavioral Changes

Much of your student's college success depends on their behavior. If your student struggles to stick to a study schedule or complete their work on time, it will prevent their college success. While many adolescents struggle with effective study behaviors, executive functioning challenges, ASD, or mental health issues will make it even more difficult.

Through CBT, your student will improve their awareness of how their behaviors are affecting them. For some, CBT will include directly focusing on school-related behaviors, while other students will be more successful due to improvements in mental health when implementing behavioral changes.


For your student to be successful in college, they need to have the motivation to study, go to class, and finish assignments. While motivation is influenced by many factors, confidence and beliefs about ability play a role. When your student develops the tools to manage their schedule, focus in class, and get school work done, they will be more motivated to do the work necessary for college success.

CBT will help your student to address beliefs about their educational abilities. When transitioning into college, it is normal for adolescents to feel some doubt about their ability to be successful. However, when your students learn to debunk these beliefs, they will be more motivated toward college success and have the tools necessary to be successful in their professional life after.

Mental Health

Your student's mental health plays an integral role in their college success. Commonly, students with mental health disorders or issues will struggle to stay in college and successfully transition into adulthood. CBT can help your student to learn what thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs are impacting their mental health.

For example, if your student is struggling with depression, cognitive-behavioral therapy will help them to learn what thought and behavior patterns are playing a role in their depression. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, your student can learn that isolation tends to increase depressive symptoms. Therefore, changing this behavior can help them not only feel better but also be more successful in college.

Helping your student to address underlying issues is vital to their success in college and living independently as an adult. Through CBT, your student can create long-term solutions in order to change how they think through issues instead of trying to put a bandaid on the issue that will eventually fall off. At Northwest College Support, we understand that the transition into adulthood is a challenging and important time in your student's life. We encourage every student we work with to build skills that help them to be successful in college and into their adult life. Our programs are created to provide support and treatment for adolescents struggling with the transition into adulthood. Call (877) 485-2776 to learn more.

9 views0 comments


bottom of page