College Stress: Help Your Teen Cope

stressed teen
From the WebMD Archives

WebMD Feature from The Jed Foundation (JED).The JED Foundation 

Stress is a normal part of life, especially during periods of change and uncertainty. But the transition to college can be stressful for a host of reasons. The American College Health Association National College Health Assessment shows stress, more than physical illness, lack of sleep, or concern for friends or family, is the single biggest roadblock to success at school.

Parents and other adults often recall their college days as a carefree time when they had few worries or responsibilities. But today’s college students face a barrage of pressures, among them:

  • Greater academic demands
  • Exposure to new people and temptations
  • The prospect of life after college

Parents should recognize that while a certain level of stress is healthy and can motivate students, too much can cause real problems.

Common College Student Stressors:


  • Continued and increasing academic demands
  • Trying to make friends
  • Living on your own in a new place
  • Relationship issues, like dating and changes in family
  • Financial responsibilities
  • Exposure to new people, ideas, and temptations
  • Awareness of sexual identity and orientation

Motivating or Limiting?

Fortunately, most of the stress your child faces will be the helpful type that pushes them forward. Experts agree that, in the proper amount, stress can be a positive force. It can boost a student’s self-awareness and make him more productive. Your child can’t avoid every source of stress, but you can help lessen or do away with some. Teach him how to tell the difference between what really matters and what doesn’t. That will help him keep his stress levels as low as possible.

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WebMD Feature from The Jed Foundation Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on September 19, 2017
© 2018 The Jed Foundation, All Rights Reserved.