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Survey: Students Cite Mental Health Concerns and Anxieties As Possible Deterrents for College

Worries and anxieties may not just affect the college experience but also prevent a sizable portion of students from going to college altogether, according to a new survey from education company EAB.Michael KoppenhefferMichael Koppenheffer

“They have anxieties about their preparedness in all ways,” said Michael Koppenheffer, vice president of Enroll360 marketing and analytics at EAB. “They are concerned about their abilities to thrive in their next chapter."

"Mental Health Challenges and Their Impact on College Readiness" – which involved surveying more than 6,000 high schoolers in September 2023 about mental health and college participation – found that stress and anxiety were what significant percentages of respondents felt regarding college planning.

On the subject of planning for college, almost half of respondents (48%) reported feeling increased anxiety, nerves, and worry about the matter, while a quarter (25%) reported feeling more stress in general.

The other most prominent opinions on college planning that the survey found were indecision (8%); that it was overwhelming (8%); that there wasn’t enough time to do it (8.8%); and that the planning process was complicated or difficult (10%).

“Anxiety and fear make it very difficult for me to plan for college because I overthink every outcome that my life could possibly take,” said one respondent who was quoted in the report. “I feel like college is the biggest decision of my life thus far, and that can be very heavy for a 17-year-old to handle.”

These student concerns over mental health were also found to somewhat carry over into their decisions to even go to college. According to the survey, more than a quarter of respondents (28%) applying or thinking about applying to college answered that mental health issues are one reason why they may choose to delay going to college or choose not to enroll altogether.

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