Effective Strategies for Easing Pre-College Anxiety

Congrats, grad! Finishing high school is a major milestone in one’s life and it’s a time for celebration and cheer! What comes next? Well, perhaps you have made the decision to further your education and enter college. This is an exciting time and marks the beginning of an entirely new journey.

Enrolling in college also leads to feelings of uneasiness and nervousness. Pre-college anxiety is entirely normal, however it will be important to manage these feelings to make the transition smoother. Whether it’s worrying about academics, social life, or leaving home, here are some strategies that may be helpful for navigating this nerve-wracking time.

1. Seek Support

The overwhelming sensations of transitioning to college can feel suffocating, but remember that you are not alone. Seek support from friends, family, teachers, or other trusted individuals in your life who have gone through similar experiences.

Talking with your friends can provide you with reassurance and validation that this can be a scary time for everyone. Older family members and teachers may have experienced the transition to college themselves. Reach out and ask for their advice how to effectively manage nerves surrounding this major change.

2. Stay Organized

A big source of stress can stem from feeling unprepared or uncertain about what lies ahead. You can overcome this stress by staying organized and proactive with your preparation.

  • Do research about your college and if possible, take multiple tours of the campus before the first day.
  • Know how and when to register for classes. Meet with an academic advisor to help with scheduling.
  • Arrange housing if needed and create a check list of dorm room essentials to obtain before move-in.
  • Prepare school supplies such as writing utensils, notebooks, or textbooks before the first day.
  • Once enrolled in classes, read over the syllabus so you may be prepared for upcoming tests and assignments.

Break down these tasks into smaller, more manageable ones if you start to feel too overwhelmed. Start your preparations at the beginning of summer so you have a few months to accomplish them all.

3. Practice Self-Care

It can be easy to lose yourself in the stress of college preparation. Make sure to carve out time to take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat adequate meals, and engage in pleasurable activities that help you relax and unwind.

Enjoy the freedom of summer and spending time with high-school friends. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine, take some walks through nature, and manage your stress as best you can. Taking care of your physical and mental health will help better prepare you for college.

4. Connect with Peers

College campuses will often provide their incoming students with many opportunities for socialization. Take advantage of these events and branch out to meet new people. With the advantages of social media, it is even possible to find online groups with individuals who are starting school the same time you are.

Consider joining clubs, sports, or student organizations to make new friends and explore new interests while at school. You can even try to meet up with your new roommate before you officially move in together. While it can feel scary, try not to limit yourself socially.

5. Focus on Positives

During life transitions, we can unintentionally start to play the “what if” game. “What if I fail my classes?” and “What if I don’t make friends?” or “What if I don’t like my major?” These anxieties can eat us alive. That is why it’s important to develop a positive mindset when preparing for college. Visualize your goals and what you want to achieve in life. Remind yourself that this is a time for personal growth, and that no matter what happens, you tried your absolute best.

If you find yourself still struggling with pre-college anxiety, seeking help from a mental health counseling  is the best way to prepare. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help!