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  • Staff Writer

How Freedom Can Improve College Performance

Life as a young adult can be challenging. It is a time of many changes academically, personally, and physically. For those with mental health disorders or learning disabilities, these changes can be particularly hard to navigate, ultimately impacting college performance and success.

However, as a student, many support options can help you to improve your college performance. While support is often associated with a lack of freedom, this is not always the case. The freedom to make mistakes and receive support as you learn can help you to transition into adulthood while thriving at college.

Freedom as a Young Adult

As an adolescent in high school, you live with caregivers who oversee most aspects of life. This includes taking care of laundry, cooking, and supporting your needs for academic success. However, as you move out of the house and go off to college, you gain freedom and responsibility. It is common to feel both excited and nervous about this freedom as it comes with many new tools that you will need to develop.

While it can be intimidating, you can learn how to live independently. This includes learning life skills that support you in your academics and beyond. Life skills refer to a broad category of skills needed to manage and cope in life. It includes organization, self-monitoring, communication, and more. Research has found that life skills improve your ability to cope in new situations, self-esteem, and performance in school.

Impact of Freedom on College Performance

Going into college means having a lot of newfound freedom. You can sleep, eat, watch tv, and do your homework whenever you want. Without anyone to monitor you, you may feel both elated and unsure of how to manage your life. However, while freedom can be challenging, it also allows you an opportunity to learn and improve skills that will help your college performance. As you learn to monitor yourself and take responsibility, you can thrive as a college student.


Taking care of yourself and getting things done requires self-monitoring. For some individuals, this may be particularly challenging due to mental health disorders that impact executive functioning. Executive functioning allows you to focus, plan, and follow through with goals. Disorders like anxiety, depression, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can all impact executive functioning.

However, whether you struggle with executive functioning or not, you can learn and improve your ability to self-monitor. Self-monitoring is the ability to regulate your behaviors. For example, self-monitoring might look like setting up a homework schedule and sticking to it to make sure that you finish everything on time. It could also look like washing the dishes regularly or making sure to get regular exercise.

Your ability to self-monitor plays an important role in college performance. College classes will vary in how they grade students. While some will be more heavily graded on papers, others will require group projects or participation. Regardless of the type of work, every college class requires learning and submitting work. Self-monitoring helps you to be consistent and on time with your studying and turning in work.

Personal Responsibility

As a college student, you are likely to notice a change in how classes are taught and what the expectations of students are. Similar to a job, you are responsible for yourself in college. This means that it is your responsibility to learn the correct material, buy the right book, and complete assignments to the specifications of the professor.

Freedom plays an important role in personal responsibility. While in high school you may not have had to take on as much personal responsibility, but with increased freedom you do. However, without freedom, there is less need to take responsibility and therefore it is more difficult to do so.

Building Skills to Improve Your College Performance

As a young adult, your college performance is important. It can help you to find a job or build a career that you enjoy. Therefore, learning skills like how to take personal responsibility and monitor yourself will help you as a student and later in life. While these skills may seem impossible, you can learn them and grow into a thriving college student.

Freedom is an important part of learning. While getting support and help from a trusted facility is important, freedom provides the space for you to make mistakes and learn. With each step, you can make improvements to build systems and skills that truly work for you.

As you improve awareness, self-monitoring, and take responsibility for your actions, you will improve your ability to not only thrive in college but to do well in whatever direction you choose to go. These skills are what you need to live independently as an adult. Therefore, increased freedom with support not only helps you improve college performance but helps you to feel confident no matter what direction you choose to go in.

As a young adult transitioning into college, you will be faced with a huge amount of freedom. While this can be intimidating, it is also an exciting time in your life where you can learn and grow in ways that can help you to succeed. At Northwest College Support, one of our core values is to provide the least restrictive environment possible. This means that students in our programs have the space to make mistakes with a support network at their disposal to help them stay on track. If you or your student is in need of extra support during the transition into adulthood, we can help. Call (877) 485-2776 today to learn more.

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