Editorial: Effect of College Stress on Students’ Mental Health


Written by Adeline Furlow and Brittany Nelson

The decision of if and where a person attends college is one of the most important choices a person will make throughout their entire life. With everything else students are juggling during senior year, time taken to focus on mental health and relationships can fall to the wayside.

With the price of college skyrocketing in recent years, the pressure placed on students’ shoulders to succeed has risen alongside it. While of course teens have always wanted to do well, the increased costs of schooling have made earning scholarships and grants even more important for many families.

“You think the stress ends after you get into your dream school, but once you start thinking financially about how you’re going to pay for college, the stress of meeting scholarship deadlines or working with financial aid really amps your anxiety,” says senior Camryn Norwood. “Ultimately, the price of the school determines where you end up.”

In addition to how time consuming striving for academic excellence can be, it can also be detrimental to one’s mental health. According to a 2017 study conducted by Web MD and The JED Foundation, 86% of medical professionals surveyed saw an increase among teens within the past five years of stress and anxiety, while 70% reported a rise in mood disorders. One potential cause of these issues could be that the competitiveness of high school surges while college acceptance rates decrease each year. By finding things that lower stress or talking to someone you trust, it can become easier to handle worries about the future while keeping a healthy mindset.

Senior Jarrett Lorusso eases his mind through sports, saying, “I manage my stress by playing baseball. It’s always been something that calms me down whenever life gets really crazy. When I’m out on the field, focusing strictly on the game makes all my other thoughts and worries melt away.”

Another area of life that can be impacted by the college application and decision-making process is relationships. Varying from the college you choose to how you spend your months leading up to graduation, tensions can often arise between students and their friends or family.

“Even as a junior, I know a lot of people who worry about what others think of their top college choices. If a school isn’t prestigious enough or is known as a “party school”, some seniors will instantly disregard it because they know how judgemental and opinionated other people can be,” says junior Kendall Wisniewski.

In all honesty, many of the friendships and romances from your time in high school will not last forever, so it makes sense to focus on those that you care about most during the last few months. Finding out who will truly support you and your decisions should be worth losing a few people along the way who weren’t really worth it.

Even though a lot of work and stress is involved with all the decisions that go into deciding your future, students should remember that it will all pay off.

While managing relationships and remembering to keep up with your mental health can be a lot on top of keeping up with applications and the other pressures of senior year, it is definitely crucial to do so in order to have the best time during the end of your high school experience.