Are teens mentally prepared for college and university?

A National Institute of Health study found that 25.1 percent of kids 13-18 in the US have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders.

The First Year College Experience survey, conducted by Harris Poll for The JED Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and The Jordan Porco Foundation, found that 60 percent of freshmen said they wished they had “more help getting emotionally ready for college.

Close to half of students report that college isn’t living up to what they expected of it and feel like everyone else but them has it figured out.

For more than 3 in 4 students, college is a lot less “fun” than how it is portrayed in the media.

Time management (73%) and independent living (50%) skills are both areas students acknowledge they need to improve.

Source: 2015 online survey of college students in their second term conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of The Jed Foundation, The Jordan Matthew Porco Foundation, and The Partnership for Drug Free Kids;

2017 Center For Collegiate Mental Health’s Annual Report shows data contributed by 147 college and university counseling centers, describing 161,014 unique college students seeking mental health treatment, 3,592 clinicians, and 1,255,052 appointments. It is important to not that this data is not compiled from a survey, but actual reports, documents, etc.

Top 5 reasons for counseling 2013-2017

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Relationship problem
  4. Stress
  5. Family

“The growing prevalence of anxiety and depression represents a substantial challenge for colleges and universities. Institutions and counseling centers will need to work together to develop and offer a continuum of options to educate and support both students seeking counseling services as well as the general student body (e.g., prevention, education,
self-help, and expanded treatment capacity).”

Source: Center For Collegiate Mental Health (2017 Report) at Penn State University;

How to Get Mentally Prepared for College and University and Maintain Success

  1. Follow the Recipe for Academic Success. Learn more HERE .
  2. Victory is yours! Set goals and make them visible to you every day. Create a mission statement. Keep your vision for the future at the forefront of your mind. The workbook, Victory is Yours will help you set goals and create your vision for the future.
  3. Manage your time and stay organized. Let’s Get It Together is a great resource that will help you get and stay organized.
  4. Find your focus. Know yourself. Know what you need and when you need it. Don’t Worry Be Happy is the perfect workbook to explore who you are and what you need to stay focused.
  5. Come to terms with studying and work load now. Read Learn Like A Ninja and discover how to use strategies that help you succeed. Use the Test Prep Guide to ace your midterms and finals. “Do what you have to so you can do what you want to.” Oprah Winfrey
  6. Use your super powers: Growth Mindset: the belief that you are in control of your own ability, and can learn and improve; Grit: courage and resolve to move forward; Passion: a strong feeling of excitement for something or about doing something. Learn more about your super powers in the book, Victory is Yours, using the Power Within You activity.

Be realistic about what you can and can’t do.

Do not believe the hype! Know that what you see in the media is not a real portrayal of how your college or university experience will be. The truth is that no matter how well you prepare mentally for college, no matter how often you visit or how many students you speak with, and no matter how confident you are that you know exactly what lies ahead, you are still going to find your experience is different from what you expected. You will become aware of both your strengths and weaknesses. And that’s OK. You will be in a similar situation to every other first-year student on campus, and like them, you find your way — and balance — as long as you stay focused, responsible, open and flexible.

No matter how well-prepared you are, life will occasionally throw you some curveballs. Not everything will go your way, and that’s okay. There are some things that are just out of your control that you couldn’t have prevented. If you can honestly say that there’s nothing you could have done differently in order for the outcome to have been better, then the only way you can move is forward. Know that whatever curveballs life throws at you, you have the strength, the intelligence, and the resources to deal with them. And you will.

I wish you success in all your future endeavors. Keep reaching for the stars!

Melanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With over ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“