How to manage pre-college anxiety?

This blog answers questions about: How to manage pre-college anxiety? What are some ways to manage anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety?

How to manage pre-college anxiety?

Connect with current college students

One of the best ways for students to deal with pre-college anxiety is to get in touch with those students who are currently in college. This helps them with a sense of reassurance about college and helps them to understand college life better from someone who has been through it.

Even as students do not have any known friends in the college they decide on going, there are many people that they can speak to such as far family friends, neighbors and mutual friends.

Current and former college students are considered to be the most reliable source for understanding what college is like. Hence getting in touch with one of these students will help upcoming students to feel less anxious about the uncertainty associated with college life.

While talking to some current and former students the present students might come across many pros and cons which they need to accept and acknowledge rather than filtering out the negatives.


Distract yourself

Instead of letting anxiousness take control over your mood and behavior leading to disruptive patterns of sleep, diet, and crying individuals must try to distract themselves into something positive. This might include preparing for college and becoming aware of all the required elements to face the challenges.

Students can actively distract themselves from anxious feelings by researching more about the college campus, the various courses available, the locations in and around the college, and those students who are going to stay in hostels can start looking for accommodation such that they are well prepared for a new start.

Being well aware of the college surroundings, and the college environment helps individuals feel more prepared and confident about starting a new phase in their life.

Make plans for your first week

Students who feel anxious about college can also work on making a plan for their first week at college. Many students might feel that it is very early to plan out the events for the first week however they would be surprised when they are more prepared about what they would like to explore rather than keeping it as an end-minute plan.

Planning for the first two weeks could involve finding out about the various activities and extracurricular clubs that the college has and the ones they feel they want to enroll themselves into. Adding structure to once first week at college can help for a smooth start without feeling very anxious or stressed.


Maintaining persistent self-care and familiarizing oneself with the various aspects of college can help to reduce the amount of anxiousness and stress a student experiences before going to college.

This could also involve sessions with a professional mental health assistant to equip themselves with the required tools to keep up with the stress and anxiety that they anticipate from the first week of college.

self-care also involves following a proper diet, getting adequate sleep, having a substantial amount of exercise in their routine, and carrying out mindfulness.

Come to “school mode”

Many students feel anxious about a transition into college life due to the anticipation of academic pressure that comes with a higher grade.

However, individuals must understand that they have come so far because of their skills and abilities and will carry these sets of required tools with them even in college.

They might require to upgrade their skills but having an assumption that they are not capable of carrying out optimal performance in college can cause a high sense of stress and anxiousness making them feel uncomfortable about college.

The best way to tackle anxiety in such situations is to make oneself believe that academic pressure in college is going to be more or less like school just with some additional commitments and responsibilities.

Attend orientation and campus events

To reduce the anxiety and stress students feel about the college they must attend the college orientation that is offered by the institute for a smooth start.

College orientation might help students to also get familiar with their co-students, faculty, campus, and the curriculum that they will be working on for the following years.

Being aware of what students are signing up for makes them feel more confident for a new start rather than uncertainty about it.

Apart from orientations many colleges also arrange for events such as meetups and picnics to help these students gel along with their classmates and meet former students who can give them insight into their upcoming journey.

Start making friends

Many experts feel that having friends while getting into college can make college life more acceptable, and manageable. Having someone to speak about their daily challenges can help students to regulate their stress and mood.

Students can start making friends even before getting into college and starting the freshman year by getting in touch with other students who have signed up for the same course through various ways such as the college orientation, mutual friends that they can find on their social media lists.

Work on your practical skills

Starting college might require students to upgrade their valuable life skills that were otherwise neglected by students. These might include meal preparing, cooking, laundry, and cleaning especially for those who will be staying away from family.

Apart from this, it could also involve communication skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to socialize effectively. Being well equipped with these skills might help for a smoother transition from school to college and reduce the amount of stress that students might experience in the initial weeks and also over a period of time as and when these skills are required to be put in force.

Write what you’re nervous about

The best way for students to deal with their anxiety about college is to reflect upon their source of anxiety. For this individuals must note down the various reasons that are triggering their stress and anxiety.

Once students know what are the pre-college triggers that are putting their mood off it becomes easier for them to manage them one at a time.

Students can also consult their family and friends or seek professional help to get rid of these irrational fears that are associated with their transition so that they have peace of mind while they begin their college journey.

Think positive

College life can be challenging and overwhelming at some point however students must try and consciously think positively about all the events and situations that come their way during this journey as trying to escape from it is not going to cause them any sense of relief rather increase the stress.

As one’s thoughts influence an individual’s behavior and emotions thinking positively can help students feel confident and ready to face challenges more holistically and increase resilience.


Pre-college anxiety is very common and natural for students to experience. This anxiety can route from a sense of transition from school to a higher grade.

However, students must equip themselves with the required tools to deal with this stress and anxiety to proceed optimally through those semesters. Students can seek professional help and adopt self-help strategies for the same.

What are some ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time

Frequently asked questions: How to manage pre-college anxiety?

Do high students have the same anxiety levels?

Experts have pointed out that average high school students share the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the earlier 1950s.

What causes the most stress for students?

students might experience high levels of stress due to many reasons however the ones that stand out are lack of proper self-care-poor diet, insufficient sleep, lack of physical activities, and building concerns over various reasons that can contribute to their building stress

Why is high school so hard?

High school can be a difficult phase for many students one reason for this could be the transition into adolescence which is accompanied by fluctuating emotions and drives that can cause a sense of conflict regarding values and priorities.


Anxiety is not an excuse?


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