5 Main Causes of Stress For College Students

Reducing Stress in College

When we think of college life, we think of the greatest years of our lives. However, we tend to ignore that it is also the time of stressful experiences and a wide range of mental health challenges.

Given multiple sources of distress, some people will feel overwhelmed by all of them at some point.  When you mix academics, culture shock, homesickness, and social life, it can be too much for some students.

Here are five common causes of stress in college students:

Unhealthy Competition

Healthy competition is amazing, but what happens when we cross the line to unhealthy? When we obsess on getting a high GPA, this can cause additional stress. We all know student’s grades can impact their future. Failing grades can cause rejection for career and academic opportunities, revoked scholarships, or reversal of graduate school acceptance offers.

But too much emphasis on grades may result in those failing grades. Instead, encourage meetings early in each semester with professors and academic counselors to determine a course load that balances academic progress with a reasonable amount of time spent.

Parental Expectation and Style

Don’t choose your students majors or overly dictate their academic schedules. Considering your students’ interests and talents is vital. After all, you can’t tell an artist they’re an accountant.  Living up to parental expectations may be more difficult than the classwork.  Gradually, the mental stress of trying to live up to unrealistic expectations  becomes mental stress leads to anxiety, depression and unfortunately, sometimes suicide. They can prove themselves in the major they choose by making smart decisions about career explorations with career counselors at their college.


Ask any students who go to college; did they expect to feel homesick?  It’s more common than you think. Even the hardened students feel some form of sadness as they separate from their old lives. Fortunately, they can seek help from family, friends and mental health counselors on campus.

Social Anxiety

College life can be intimidating and anxiety-provoking at times especially during the students’ first year. Although some are naturally outgoing, most have to work harder to make connections. You will see students who tend to isolate themselves for fear of being rejected.

For students who want to make the first connection, try changing your unrealistic expectation to a realistic one. Turn your negative thoughts to a positive one. Join activities and organizations.  Be aware of your body language.  Good eye contact and a smile can do wonders. Try using open ended questions such as why, how, what, and when to get a conversation started. These are some important steps in surviving college.

Financial Burden

Let’s face it, college isn’t exactly cheap. Year after year, it is getting more expensive. If you add up the cost of tuition, books, room and board, it can be staggering. Unless you’ve received a full-ride scholarship, college can be a financial burden. It is not uncommon for students to take part time jobs to augment their college expenses. Evaluate college costs on an annual basis about how you can reduce college costs.

Clear the Hurdles

Do not fret as there are solutions to every hurdle. Be easy on yourself, with the right frame of mind and a positive outlook, which are very important things in surviving college, you will find that any of the stressors mentioned can be managed. Do not take things on alone. Consult your support system including resident counselors, professors, academic advisors, family and friends.  How you manage stress determines how much stress you have.

Bio: Marquis is as free as the statue of liberty. She is now a part-time writer who loves to write an article based on surviving college and a professional blogger whose work revolves around blogging, managing websites, web content, social media.