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Why college is so stressful for young students.

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

College is a stressful experience for many late teens and young adults. It serves as a transition between adolescence and adulthood, and many well-established adults know how hard it is to be an adult let alone become one.

After 18 years old we are forced to grow up and be more responsible for ourselves. Unlike grade school, there is no hand-holding in college. There is excessively more freedom than what most young people are used to and many have no idea what to do with it while trying to navigate their education and careers.

As a late adolescent or young adult looking into the future, it can be frightening. This fear can be a motivating factor for many who excel and successfully graduate. For others, it’s a crippling pressure. About 64% of college students don’t make it to graduation due to mental health issues.

(photo credit: What to Become, 2023)

Why is college so stressful?

There are a number of reasons why college can be a difficult time for students. Many young people entering college are still indecisive about what career they want to pursue. college isn’t cheap and it can feel like a waste of money and time if you end up in a career you hate.

Another reason is, it is one of the biggest adjustments in a young person's life. Many students are away from home for the first time along with thousands of new strangers from all over the world.

There is no one telling them what to do. They are fully responsible for themselves which includes going to class, doing assignments, self-care, and money management.

This is a first for many college freshmen and leads many students to feel overwhelmed and unsupported as they are lost on where to turn for help.

What is being done to address the issue?

College stress is a well-known issue, as there is a lot of research about the rates of mental disorders among college students. Many colleges have improved in the number of resources available to students on campus, and some even collaborate with outside providers and facilities so students can have more access to services. As mental health awareness increases, there is growing support for students.

One resource students can use is which provides an online guide for college students with mental disorders. This site has information that includes research on mental illnesses, information about where students can seek help, financial resources, and more.

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