Stress in College Students

School Stress Statistic

According to, heavy workloads, poor sleep schedules, not enough downtime, and poor time management are factors that may lead to academic stress. Academic stress is not confined to college-age students. 55% of juniors feel stressed and anxious about tests even when they are prepared. Although, students seek help in addressing the issues causing them stress, more help and coping options are not unwelcome.

  • Stress was ranked fourth by 5.9% of university clinicians as one of the primary mental health issues among college students for the academic year 2018 – 2019. Anxiety is first at 23.5%.
  • 61% of college students seek counseling for anxiety, depression, academic performance, family issues, and relationship problems.
  • The mean student-to-counseling-staff ratio is 1,737:1.
  • Eight in 10 college students experience frequent bouts of stress.
  • Increasing university costs are one of the reasons 43% of full-time and 81% of part-time students are employed leading to fewer study hours and sleep hours.

Research by Dig-in in 2020 found that 42.3% of university students had experienced a serious psychological issue for which they felt they needed professional help. That same survey also found that 1 in 4 students has a current mental health diagnosis, meaning that 20% of students already need mental health support before they start university.

College and university counseling centers are seeing an uptick in the number of students seeking help.


The percentage rise in students seeking appointments at counseling centers between 2009–10 and 2014–15, even though student enrollment grew by only 5 percent during that time, according to a survey of 139 college and university counseling centers.1 That’s likely because of the success of public education campaigns and other efforts to identify at-risk students and refer them to counseling, according to the report.


The percentage of college students seeking counseling who report anxiety, according to the survey. Other concerns include depression (49 percent), stress (45 percent), family issues (31 percent), academic performance (28 percent) and relationship problems (27 percent).1


The mean student-to-counseling-staff ratio at colleges and universities, according to a survey of counseling center directors. Smaller institutions had smaller ratios, on average (705:1 at schools smaller than 1,500 students), while larger institutions had larger ratios (2,624:1 at schools with more than 35,000 students).2


The percentage of counseling center directors who say their professional identity is psychologyThirty percent say it is social work, 10 percent other, 2 percent higher education administration, and less than 1 percent each medicine and nursing.2

1Center for Collegiate Mental Health 2016 Annual Report. Available at

2The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey, 2016. Available at


Useful links

The College Student’s Guide to Stress Management

Understanding and managing anxiety A guide for university students (in halls)

Anxiety in College Students: Causes, Statistics & How Universities Can Help

One Minute Test Taking Tips

Study finds 1 in 5 students surveyed reported thoughts of suicide in last year

Stress in college students (how to cope).

By the numbers: Stress on campus

The College Mental Health Crisis: Learning How to Cope