Imposter Syndrome: Adjusting to College for People of Color


Adjusting to college is a struggle for most kids in one way or another. Making new friends and meeting the challenges of college level academic demands is tough. Getting accustomed to being away from home for the first time can be lonely and isolating. But how is it different if you’re a person of color leaving your community for the first time too?


Lots of people of color or first generation college students suffer from “imposter syndrome” once they get to campus. Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that whatever your achievements are, you’re still just not good enough. This can be particularly difficult to overcome if you’ve experienced discrimination based on your race or gender. 

We encourage parents of kids in this situation to help them find resources and mentors on campus that can help your children. Most schools have a resource center, and that’s a good place to start. Getting involved with student organizations and finding friends can help kids cope. Parents should also make sure to reach out frequently and check in. Be a place of encouragement, love and support and avoid criticism. 

There’s more to say about it, and we stay on topic in this Tips on Teens:

“We’re immigrants and my son, who was born here,  is the first person in our family to go to college. He started at UC Santa Cruz last Fall. He did great in High School but now he’s really having a tough time with academics and homesickness. I read that it’s really common for people of color to have ‘imposter syndrome’ when they go to college. It seems like his self confidence is really down right now from where he started off. Is there anything we can do to help him?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.

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