College Stress on Seniors

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February 28, 2017 by adrianna4454

By Adrianna Solomon / Inglewood, CA

There are times for many of us throughout this college admissions process when we don’t think we’ll all survive.  Parents are anxious, students are stressed and sometimes downright grumpy, and admissions reps are overwhelmed.  It seems as though the stress has increased in recent years – especially for high school students.  We’ve created an achievement culture where students begin earlier and earlier to plan for, and work toward, college admission.  Is it really a question as to why seniors feel so overwhelmed?

Although the stress of waiting to hear about getting in to college is very real, it is not the only factor creating the anxiety at this time of year.  Here are six factors that may be affecting student’s feelings (from my personal experience):

  • Fear of rejection – This is the obvious thing that most seniors feel if they haven’t heard from colleges.  Students worry about being rejected by their first choice college, but they may also worry about being accepted to any college at all.  They have spent years working toward this moment and it comes down to knowing that someone wants them.  Although there are plenty of factors that go into an acceptance decision, students may feel the decision is personal.  If they are rejected, they feel it is because something wrong with them.
  • Fear of the decision – Once students are accepted – especially if they are accepted at multiple colleges, they will need to make a decision about which school to attend.  Although this may seem like an inevitable position, it puts the pressure back on the student.  Will they make the right decision?  Is there just one, perfect, place for them?  What if they makes the wrong decision?  Everyone is asking, everyone is waiting, and everyone will have an opinion once the student decides.
  • Fear of leaving home – Although your soon-to-be college student may be looking forward to getting away and excited about starting a new life at college, they are also at least a little concerned about leaving family behind.  What will life be like without family present every day?  What will be happening at home, within the family, while they are away?  Will they be able to manage on their own, without their ever-present support system?
  • Fear of finances – Students know how expensive college is.  They will most likely have student loans that knows she will need to repay once we graduate.  He/she may be worried about their ability or the family’s ability to pay for all four years of education.  They may be worried about daily expenses while living away.  Many of today’s college students worry a lot about money.
  • Fear of abilities – Many college students feel, at some point or another, as though the college has probably made a mistake by admitting them and that they will not be able to do the work.  Students have heard the message for years that college work is different from high school work, and that college is hard.  Students may worry that he/she will not be able to succeed academically.  They may worry about grades, workload, professors, and choice of major or career.  They may worry about whether or not they’re good enough and whether they will be able to do the work.
  • Fear of the unknown – College is different from high school.  Living away from home is different from living at home.  Sharing a room with a roommate is new for most students.  Making all new friends may not be something that a student has had to do recently.  Students know that life will be different, but can’t quite envision it.  They don’t know what the experience will be like, what it will feel like.  They don’t know whether they will make friends, or succeed in the classroom, or like their roommate, or enjoy living in the dorm, or find interesting activities.  They don’t know what new experiences they may face. It is all unknown.

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