College can be a time that is both positive and challenging. Students, parents, professors and administrators should all be prepared for the latter so that they can seek or offer support as necessary. Here are some areas where college students may face challenges during their time in school.
Students may struggle with mental health issues that range from mild anxiety to more serious problems. Nearly all colleges offer some form of campus health care for students, including mental health resources, and some may offer telehealth options for college students as well. Students might be more likely to seek help for mental issues if it something they can do easily from a device at home instead of having to go to an appointment on campus. A guide on supporting mental health for college students on and off campus can provide tips on how to take care of wellbeing while in school in order to be successful.
Even the most eager students may be blindsided by homesickness. It is important for students and those who support them to understand that this is normal and is not necessarily a sign that the student has made a mistake in their choice of where to attend. This is frequently just a matter of the student needing to adjust, but it can feel distressing while it is happening. Students may feel better if they make an effort to strike a balance between staying in touch with people back home and participating in some activities on campus.
Classes offer many challenges. First, students may be tempted to skip them since there are not really any mechanisms forcing them to attend like there were in high school. However, this ultimately wastes both money and time. Students who found high school easy might struggle with college classes since they may not have developed good study habits. Campus resources are available to help them improve these skills. Students should also take advantage of office hours held by professors. If they are struggling with an assignment, they should visit their professor to discuss it more. Showing a willingness to work hard will be helpful during these appointments.
Most college students are on a budget of some kind, and many may have taken out student loans. Unfortunately, they may not have developed many personal financial skills. Credit cards may be a particular danger for students as they try to keep up with classmates who have more money than them without really fully understand the financial implications of the interest rates they are facing when they use credit. Students who are receiving financial aid may find themselves in situations where they are not managing their money effectively and they are running out. Online resources may help them manage their money better, but they may also want to look into other sources of funding, including part-time jobs and private loans.
Roommate relationships, new and old friendships, and romantic relationships all have the potential to create problems for students. However, this is also an important time for students to learn more about conflict and resolution, especially if their parents have largely managed these issues when they were living at home. Students should be encouraged to try to work conflicts out on their own in most circumstances.