Many students work hard in high school to gain admission into a four-year college. And as college admission has become more competitive, there is a lot more pressure to not just get in, but to also stay in.
There’s also tremendous financial pressure. If your family is fortunate to be able to afford the expense, there is still pressure to perform well. For students on scholarships, they are often tied to academic performance requiring students to maintain a minimum GPA. For students paying for school with loans, the looming debt can be even more overwhelming.
Despite all of the stresses, most students manage to find balance between the demands of college and learning to live on their own. Friendships (both old and new), family support, physical activities and creating their own school routine can help students maintain their mental health.
However, when anxiety appears to be too much or depression starts to creep in, it’s important for students to get help. If your child’s grades are slipping, they appear to be having difficulties balancing social activities and school (too much partying and too little studying), or they are failing to follow through on work commitments, it may be time for parents to step in and check on things more closely. Use FaceTime and Skype if your student is away, or plan a visit if college is close by.
Remember, most colleges have a behavioral health center staffed with counselors that are there to help struggling students. If a student continues to struggle, it is more important to address their mental wellbeing then worry if they can salvage the semester. When their mental state is healthy, the rest generally falls into place. Be patient, encourage them and be supportive to what they need in times of challenge.
By // Dr. Lisa Strohman, JD, Ph.D.