Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen

March 15, 2011

Record Level of Stress Found in College FreshmenIt’s no surprise that college freshmen experience high levels of stress. After all, first-year underclassmen have to adjust to living away from home, new friends, navigating a new campus, and managing a course load that makes high school feel like pre-k. But stress levels are now at an all-time high, according to the survey, The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010.

Freshman Survey

The survey, which involved more than 200,000 incoming full-time students at 279 four-year colleges, found only 52 percent of students reported their emotional health to be “above average,” a marked decline from the 64 percent reported in the first year of the survey in 1985. Female students were even less likely to report excellent emotional health, with 46 percent of women placing themselves as “above average” compared to 59 percent of men.

Bookstore’s Support Helps Ease Stress

Being on campus, our bookstore managers have a unique and up close perspective on the types of pressures new students face. In response, many of our stores offer additional services and conveniences to support students and help ease some of the most stressful times on campus.

During the first few weeks of term, the New Mexico State University (NMSU) bookstore in Las Cruces, NM, extends its hours of operations to allow harried students enough time to get their books and other supplies. During this hectic period, the bookstore staff assumes the (informal) role as all-around information resource center, fielding countless questions from nervous freshmen and transfer students who are trying to acclimate to their new environment. “We get all sorts of questions,” explained Joanna Koliba, bookstore manager. “They look to us as the experts on campus for everything and we’re glad to help.”

The NMSU bookstore also keeps a stock of scantrons (standardized forms used for test taking) right at the front registers so students can just grab and go. “There are always a few students who run in to grab some scantrons five minutes before they have to take their tests,” said Koliba. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our students during midterms and finals.” The bookstore also provides a key resource for students needing a caffeine lift during cram sessions by making sure there is a constant supply of fresh-brewed coffee in the café.

Are students stressed on your campus? Tell us about the programs your school has to help freshman and upper classman deal with high levels of stress.

Read more about the annual survey from the Higher Education Research Institute.