What Are the Causes of College Stress?


Many college students feel as though they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. This comes as no surprise, because so many aspects in their lives are changing all at once. The college years can be overwhelming at first, but once students settle into a routine and develop a schedule, things start to calm down.


  • College students often find themselves worrying about money. For many students, it is their first time out in the "real world" and they don't exactly have the money-managing skills of their parents. Now they have to finance (or help finance) room and board, find money for tuition and pay their bills on time. The high cost of tuition also adds extra stress to student's lives, because they have to worry about paying off student loans once they graduate.

Academic Progress

  • Some students don't know what to expect when starting college, and they approach their academics as just another year of high school. That's when reality hits and they see that college is much more difficult than their senior year. Academic progress is something that most college students stress about. This is especially true for students who are receiving federal financial aid, because they have to maintain a certain GPA to continue receiving funds.

The Future

  • According to MSNBC, 50 percent of college students change their major at least once, and some students change two or three times during their college years. This uncertainty about career and prospects for the future causes students additional stress. Many students wonder if they chose the right major, if there will be jobs available when they graduate and if they will make enough money to live a comfortable life. They also realize that college isn't easy, so making sure that they're majoring in the right field is important. They don't want to have to do it all over again.


  • A lot of college students are facing responsibility for the first time. Now they are paying bills, working and studying. College is much harder than high school, and the days of "My dog ate my homework" are long gone. Professors have no problem failing students who don't demonstrate responsibility in their class. The surge of new responsibility weighs heavily on the shoulders of college students.

Peer Pressure

  • Peer pressure isn't something that only happens in high school. College students face plenty of peer pressure while striving for their degree. Parties, drugs and alcohol are just a few things that students can be pressured into. If they fall into the trap of too much indulgence, they may jeopardize their academic progress and destroy their future. Students struggle between doing what's right and trying to fit in with the crowd.


  • Family can greatly influence a college student's actions and create additional stress in the process. Many college students feel obligated to please their parents. Some might choose to major in a field that they aren't interested in just because that's what their parents want them to do. Others might get stressed out when their grades aren't up to par because they know their parents will be disappointed. Parents may be a bit overprotective at first, because it's the student's first time away from home. All of this added pressure can put a great weight on the student's shoulders.

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  • Photo Credit Carl Dwyer: sxc.hu
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