Ten Common Problems Students Face in College

Updated on December 2, 2015

While time spent at college is a fond memory and a happy experience for most, the student life is not without its rough patches. Everyone's situation is unique, but there are a few problems that almost all college students deal with at least once during their time at school.

If you are on your way to college, get a jump on how to deal with the challenges that may come your way.

1. Time Management

Problem: College is academically challenging. For many, college courses require much more effort than high school classes did. Unlike most high schools, colleges often pack two years of content into one year. Many students take a full 15 credit semester, while others try to cram in up to 18 or even 21 credits. At times, it seems impossibe to stay on top of it all.

Solution: Know your limits. If you can't handle 18 credits in one semester, it is worth it in the long run to slow down and take only 15. While the purpose of a college education is to learn as much as you can, that doesn't mean studying all the time. It is important to schedule time for fun and to take breaks to keep your mind fresh and clear. For more ways to manage this kind of academic stress, see this guide of effective study habits.

Schedule your study time and make time for breaks. Also, know your limits. If you are taking too many credits, take fewer next term.
Schedule your study time and make time for breaks. Also, know your limits. If you are taking too many credits, take fewer next term.

2. Debt

Problem: Tuition costs are rising at alarmingly high rates. Add to that the cost of housing, meals, supplies, transportation, and textbooks, and you have a recipe for unmanageable debt. Most financial advisors recommend borrowing no more than one expects to earn their first year out of college. However, soaring tuition costs make this rule difficult to follow. According to an article in U.S. News, almost half of today's students say that the cost is making them reconsider finishing their degree. Students are increasingly dropping out of college because they cannot afford the expense. Others are forced to juggle full academic schedules with full-time jobs to make ends meet. Graduating debt-free is almost unheard of.

Solution: Student loans are relatively easy to get. Many students, however, don't know how repayment works and how many years they may spend paying off their loans. This lack of understanding only adds to the stress. An important part of your education is educating yourself about the structure of the loans you take on to pay for that education. Sit down with a financial advisor to get a firm grasp on the debt you're taking on.

Consider an on-campus job. Working on-campus will cut out potential transportation expenses and help you stay more focused academically. If you had a job in high school and are going to college locally, see if you can continue working while in school. If you are going away to school, inquire about transferring to a job location near your school. In addition, create a budget for shopping trips and eating out and stick to it.

3. Spreading Yourself Too Thin

Problem: To afford the high price of college tuition, many students must get jobs. Juggling a job, 15 to 18 credits, relationships, and extracurricular activities is extremely difficult. Many students try to cram all of these activities into one day and do not get enough sleep. Without proper rest, students are vulnerable to physical and mental health problems.

Solution: Decide what is important. Prioritize and schedule events, games, meetings, social events, and studies accordingly. Also, be aware of your options when getting a job. Universities often offer jobs that fit into a student's schedule.

Homesickness is a common and normal challenge for college students, especially those who are far from home and in their first year of school.
Homesickness is a common and normal challenge for college students, especially those who are far from home and in their first year of school.

4. Homesickness

Problem: Whether they admit it or not, most students will at one point get homesick, especially those who attend a school that is more than three hours away from home. Freshmen suffer more, as it is presumably their first year away from home.

Solution: If you live within three or four hours from home (a comfortable day's drive), plan to visit home once every month or two. Ask friends and family to email, call, and send care packages. These steps should greatly assist in reducing feelings of homesickness.

Many campuses have support groups for students. Talking to others who are having similar experiences can help. You may even form friendships with some of the people you meet there. Remember that the other students you come into contact with every day may be feeling the same things you are, and you can help each other.

5. Depression

Problem: Every problem on this list can raise a student's stress level and contribute to emotional lows. Some find temporary relief in partying which, in excess and in the long run, may contribute to depression.

Solution: If stress and depression are an issue, seek professional support. Many campuses have free counseling programs for students. Counselors are trained to listen and help students get back on track.

Stress and depression are common problems faced by college students.
Stress and depression are common problems faced by college students.

6. Sickness/Health Conditions

Problem: Heightened stress, poor self-care, and lack of sleep can cause health problems. Living in close quarters also poses health risks and can increase a student's chances of contracting illnesses.

Solution: Eat healthy, balanced meals. Get a good night's rest as well. Wash your hands often. If an illness does develop, visit your campus clinic.

7. Social Problems

Problem: If you're lucky, you'll make many new friends. Establishing connections and spending time with classmates and roommates is important for building community. However, spending too much time together can be challenging, and conflicts can arise. Social relations can become a distraction.

Solution: Take some time out for yourself. If possible, get away from campus for a break and visit a coffee shop or a mall, take a walk in a neighborhood, or visit a local park. Prioritize time for studying and taking care of yourself. If conflicts do arise and you need help, get your RA or another friend involved.

8. Partying

Problem: Partying in itself is not a problem. Parties can be a great way for students to blow off steam. However, sometimes partying can cause problems. Drugs and alcohol can lead to poor choices, risky behavior, health risks, and even potentially deadly situations. Having sex without sober consent and without taking the necessary precautions can be traumatic, dangerous, and even criminal.

Solution: While parties are important, enjoy them in a responsible and legal way so you don't create problems for yourself or others. Know your limits. Ask for a ride home if you've been drinking. Keep track of your friends and make sure they're being safe, too. Make sure to eat and drink enough water when consuming alcohol. Carry a condom. Understand what it means to have "affirmative consent."

While parties can be a great way to blow off steam, partying can also become a major problem in college.
While parties can be a great way to blow off steam, partying can also become a major problem in college.

9. Relationships

Problem: Relationships are good, but they can be overwhelming. Sometimes they take a lot of time and can begin to encroach on your education. There are times in every relationship when a couple will have a disagreement which can distract them from schoolwork and add to stress levels. Break-ups can drive some students even further into depression.

Solution: Relationship advice is hard to give, since the solution varies on a case-by-case basis. Establish a clear communication of your needs and expectations from the outset. If you do break up, consult with a school counselor to work through the experience.

10. Choosing a Major

Problem: There is a lot of pressure to choose a major. It is easy to think that your major will determine your future career and how much money you will make, which means that making the right decision now feels hugely important (and stressful).

Solution: College majors are important, but they do not chisel your future career or wages into stone. Choose something that you like. If you are unsure about what major to choose, choose something broad and versatile, such as communications. Many students who get their undergraduate degrees in one field progress to get a Master's degree in a different area. Worrying too much about your major is simply not worth it. Focus instead on gaining knowledge and life skills.

Is College Worth it All?

These are just ten of the major challenges that students face. In the end, is it worth facing these problems and struggles? If you ask students, eight out of ten will say it is. While college can stress you to the limit, the good times and outcomes will outweigh the bad.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Kimberly 

        8 weeks ago

        Thanks for your advice am just coming across it now and it's great help

      • profile image

        TJ 

        2 months ago

        This is an excellent article and relevant for distance learners who have limited time between work, study and social life. Trying to balance time between these various aspects of life can be extremely stressful. Good time management is crucial. Knowing one's limits is also key to completion of one's study program. Its best to avoid peer pressure and take up modules which help strike a balance in your life without unnecessary pressure

      • profile image

        Pam Pam 

        2 months ago

        This article is insightful. College is a life time to remember but students should keep focused on the ultimate goal . After four years one will realise that some of the things and people don't matter anymore. I think the writer should have also mentioned peer pressure as a major challenge as well and one can lose their career or life following some students who have a crazy lifestyle

      • profile image

        good boi 

        3 months ago

        k very useful

      • profile image

        muddy 

        3 months ago

        wise words thanx

      • profile image

        Takemore 

        3 months ago

        The advise is good, very informative.

        I have just picked what have been a challenge and got the solution on it. Especially on time management.

      • profile image

        Daphney 

        4 months ago

        Thanks a lot your advice really helped a me a lot and you also gave a clue a how to write my essay

      • profile image

        Thando 

        4 months ago

        Thanks alot you really help me tnx

      • profile image

        Alice Mungwini 

        4 months ago

        Thank u so much for the advice it really helped me a lot.

      • profile image

        chipo 

        4 months ago

        how do ihandle pressure on wprk and school

      • profile image

        tanyah 

        4 months ago

        thnx alot you really helped me

      • profile image

        Samantha 

        4 months ago

        Thanx but how do l get a job by the campus

      • profile image

        mitchie 

        5 months ago

        thank you..

      • profile image

        tony james 

        5 months ago

        thank you for the advice

      • profile image

        katsvairo 

        5 months ago

        i find your blog very educative well done

      • profile image

        natasha 

        5 months ago

        thank you for the information

      • profile image

        nyasha 

        6 months ago

        this is really helpful thank u

      • profile image

        meteshome32@gmail.com 

        6 months ago

        what is finding?

      • profile image

        Praveen Kallapur 

        8 months ago

        What job can a student get in the college that the student could be paid of???

        Thank you very much for such a wise wisdom.

      • profile image

        Senti jamir 

        9 months ago

        Wow....it is really helpful to me....thank you so much for the guide

      • profile image

        Veronica 

        10 months ago

        These are helpful to students because the information can help those who want to study and be motivated

      • profile image

        Eugene Onginjo 

        10 months ago

        which job can l

        get in college

      • profile image

        wills 

        10 months ago

        am really delighted and i would like to learn more

      • profile image

        oofer gang 

        10 months ago

        i wanna die

      • profile image

        Florence 

        10 months ago

        This is very helpful to me,I also struggled as a new student in my class .My new classmates were not friendly at and it gave me a nightmare each and everyday.Having a positive mind kept me going.

      • profile image

        marline 

        10 months ago

        thank you for the guide.

      • profile image

        Nick 

        10 months ago

        Awesome

      • profile image

        Abibi 

        11 months ago

        thank you for sharing this with us. Most of us are facing those problems now in collage and it is good that you gave us some solutions regarding the problems that we could us. thank you for all the help.

      • profile image

        Nocypho 

        11 months ago

        Thanks for helpful info. THANKS

      • profile image

        Ruth 

        11 months ago

        It is really esential to creat a study group for our friends in the same academic struggle.

      • profile image

        Ethel 

        12 months ago

        This is good information.l think its going to help those who want to study

      • profile image

        Liberty Gwamura 

        12 months ago

        In my own opinion, i think this is very helpful information that can be used to empower our youth, therefore creating an effective and progressive communities..knowledge is power

      • profile image

        Bruce 

        12 months ago

        Our greatest need is earning some money so getting education must not necessarily have to stop us from making money.

        This is a good advise for many who want to study; if you had a job in high school and are going to college locally, see if you can continue working while in school. If you are going away to school, inquire about transferring to a job location near your school. In addition, create a budget for shopping trips and eating out and stick to it.

      • profile image

        Liana 

        12 months ago

        This is helpful

      • profile image

        tanatswa 

        12 months ago

        thank you so much for the headsup. when l go to collage one day l will know how to deal with those problems. but Garfiels its been a long time since you have given us a response and we would like to know what you think about our comments......it gives us personal joy that you really are reading our comments and you honor them. thank you

      • profile image

        tiana morgain 

        12 months ago

        good and correct information.thank you

      • profile image

        dolce 

        12 months ago

        helpful information

      • profile image

        tatenda 

        12 months ago

        thank you for the inspiration

      • profile image

        Agnela 

        12 months ago

        Wooow thanks for usefull information

      • profile image

        Bruce 

        12 months ago

        Good guidance - thank you for the words of wisdom.

      • profile image

        Edith 

        12 months ago

        Very helpful information thanks

      • profile image

        feli 

        12 months ago

        profound

      • profile image

        heather and vimbai 

        12 months ago

        Helpful information thank you!

      • profile image

        Donell Muzerengi 

        12 months ago

        Inspiring and Motivating

      • profile image

        josh 

        13 months ago

        cool info

      • profile image

        vijithra 

        13 months ago

        useful advice

      • profile image

        lil pump 

        13 months ago

        thank you

      • profile image

        gitonga david. 

        14 months ago

        thanks for good advice.

      • profile image

        Ruvimbo Nyikadzino 

        14 months ago

        Well elaborate .Thank you

      • profile image

        Curtis Jones 

        14 months ago

        I am so inspired by this article. thank you so much.

      • profile image

        Channel Goss 

        14 months ago

        Thank you so much for the advice

      • profile image

        Ethan Gabe 

        14 months ago

        very enlightening.

      • profile image

        mercy mogo 

        14 months ago

        very helpful. thank you very much

      • profile image

        Tinashe Musakwa 

        14 months ago

        It's profound

      • profile image

        tamskie 

        14 months ago

        Very helpfull

      • profile image

        Thabo Frank 

        14 months ago

        Well said

      • profile image

        abay bihonegn 

        14 months ago

        helpfull

      • profile image

        Bheki 

        14 months ago

        This was very enlightening and it has helped me a lot and I have learnt a lot and I am going to put it to practise

      • profile image

        Portia 

        15 months ago

        Very helpful.....thank you

      • profile image

        moses 

        16 months ago

        very real!

      • profile image

        mpho 

        16 months ago

        100% helpful

      • profile image

        Kushi 

        17 months ago

        Is was the helpful information which I was looking forward to...Thanks ....God Bless...

      • profile image

        jacob 

        20 months ago

        you helped me on my 6th grade project of choose

      • profile image

        miranda 

        21 months ago

        can you put your website in citation?

      • profile image

        Sly 

        22 months ago

        Very helpful information.Thank you

      • profile image

        PJ 

        22 months ago

        I just hate the fact that we have to study stuff that we will never ever use in our lives once we get our job. For example: my boss will never say, "Hey PJ, we just found a new oil source for our company, could you go and find the integral for a pipe we're going to use?" 89% of the materials we study is completely unnecessary.

      • profile image

        Tendai Temera 

        22 months ago

        powerful information thank u it helps

      • profile image

        chimuti 

        23 months ago

        Very informative. Thank you.

      • profile image

        Learnard Nhidza 

        23 months ago

        Great staff.......useful perspective,lt helped me a lot......thanks very much for posting such a usefull advice

      • profile image

        Jennifer 

        2 years ago

        I am from Ecuador and I study at ESPOL. The problem I can see is the time you have to invest to study, the complexity with which my university is run and the subjects that are complicated. Manage time are one of the best solutions to this problem. And in some cases nostalgia and depression infuse but in few people.

      • profile image

        wadani 

        2 years ago

        its good but how we define the problems that student face before join university

      • profile image

        rufaro 

        2 years ago

        this information was very helpfull thank u for the insight

      • profile image

        DAVID NDLOVU 

        2 years ago

        Very informative. Parties also drain the little energy you have left as you sleep late and alcohol induced sleep is not healthy

      • Haider Mama profile image

        Haider 

        2 years ago from Melbourne

        These are common problems. Some of them can be dealt easily while other are often difficult to deal with. For example, building a social connection is difficult and time management can be easy.

      • profile image

        AK Mishra 

        2 years ago

        Good Post. Very informative.

      • profile image

        mandi 

        2 years ago

        If you develop one of these mental health ailments –depression, anxiety.. try to remember that your friends are looking out for your best interests. They want you to be well, and they are not attacking you. Talking about your problems with someone close to you may seem like a daunting task, but try to let them help you until you are ready to seek the professional help you need to get better.

      • profile image

        gody 

        2 years ago

        students must learn to manage those activities which are related to their study time

      • profile image

        CD 

        2 years ago

        Time management is critical and if not planned well, pressure will mount forcing students to sleep late as they will be trying to catch up. This obvious will cause stress and fatigue resulting in loss of concentration and its even worse.

      • profile image

        supreme 

        2 years ago

        l have been following the ten common problems faced by college students and from what l see is all the ten problems have to do with time management. Only when you manage your time effectively, students can manage their debts that is applying for loans on time.

        When you manage your time effectively its also easy to spread yourself too thin.

        Home sickness, Depression, Partying, social problems and Relationship all needs time of their own thus time management is required so that you give each and every aspects of your life a pinch of your limited time.

      • profile image

        Mbudziyadhura 

        2 years ago

        Simplified and spot on. thanks a million.

      • profile image

        Inno 

        2 years ago

        Time management is important,students should have time for social events and fun as this will refresh the mind.Students also need enough sleep,lack of it can cause fatigue.

      • profile image

        tinashie 

        2 years ago

        It is so helpful especially in our studies.

      • profile image

        Tapiwa 

        2 years ago

        time management indeed affects most students in college, thus affecting any other business the student has to do.

      • profile image

        Dr. Oliver 

        2 years ago

        I really like your article.... May I use this article for a presentation and high school recruitment?

        Thanks!

      • profile image

        sayemurrahman99@gmail.com 

        2 years ago

        I admit into a new college. I feel very lonely there and I also cannot understand my reading. How can I solve my problems?

      • profile image

        geff 

        3 years ago

        great advice

      • profile image

        Viren Negi 

        3 years ago

        Hi,

        It's a great article on common problem among students, i loved it and specially like debt part you have covered in this, people easily forget this part which also a major problem among students.

      • profile image

        takudzwa muza 

        4 years ago

        I used to be so stressed about a tonne of things but this may have helped. Thanks mate.

      • Will2Teach profile image

        Will Dorfman 

        4 years ago from Smithtown

        This was incredible. I wouldn't hesitate to give a copy to a student, the summer before entering their freshman year. Very well written.

      • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

        Jennifer Mugrage 

        4 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

        Hm. I can relate to many of these.

        The point about knowing your limits is well-taken. In my case, I had a scholarship that mandated I take at least 15 credit hours per semester (a "full load") ... but I often took 19. The idea was to get through quickly so as to save money. But in terms of actual learning, of course it is better to take fewer credit hours, and spend more time studying them in-depth ... to actually learn the material rather than just being exposed to it. However, even with 19 credit hours, I could have spent more time marinading myself in the material. So much of my time I frittered away on hobbies, clubs, recreational reading.

        Regarding problems with roommates, friends, and significant others ... as you say, there's no silver bullet for these things. I do agree that taking some time away can be good for a student having roommate problems ... but it might also be good to ask ourselves, "Am I contributing to this problem, in fact might I be a large part of it?" College students are young adults, just learning to relate to others as adults, still in a lot of ways thinking like kids (if my own experience is any guide). They might encounter people who will not put up with them in the ways that their family have learned to. This is part of growing up and maturing.

        Young adulthood is also the time of life when certain health problems may come to the fore ... for example, it could be rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, bipolar disorder, depression ...

        Regarding the emphasis on "what's your major," college is not the ideal place for everyone to find or develop what they are good at. Many might do better with trade school or jumping right into a career. But perhaps that's a topic for another hub.

      • Ammon Beardmore profile image

        Ammon Beardmore 

        4 years ago

        I can relate to these. The trick is to find a major without racking up a debt while trying to find yourself

      • inglesj profile image

        inglesj 

        4 years ago

        Hey nice job on the hub! You really did a great job covering the topic.

      • verymary profile image

        Mary 

        4 years ago from Chicago area

        With a child heading off to college soon, I'm all too aware of these pitfalls. The poor-sleep potential is a biggie, as it feeds into so many physical and mental health issues. Great advice on life balance & choosing a major.

        Vis a vis costs, student debt nationwide is staggering -- something has to give...

      • Chaunice Benton profile image

        Chaunice Benton 

        4 years ago from New York City (Currently Residing in Charlotte, NC)

        This relates perfectly to my article "The Top 5 Ways to Get Through College" and god shane in hand with my objective: To tackle this time in your life equipped with the knowledge to surpass most, if not all, of these issues. Great read!

      • profile image

        Summit 

        5 years ago

        Help could come to the students through peer-mentoring programs supported through one-to-one relationship between seniors and juniors. Such measures should be started by colleges to ease the pain and provide guidance by connecting them through technology.

      • profile image

        tbhorsenut 

        5 years ago

        Hello! I would like to cite your article for a paper. Can you please tell me when you first published it?

      • profile image

        Anshul nagi 

        5 years ago from Dehradun,India

        Good info ,I am in a college and I often face some difficulties

      • profile image

        ioann 

        5 years ago

        Another problem for students is the anxiety for the future as the jobs are not many and you fear that you don't always have the skills for them. What I do, is search for internships, competitions and other student opportunities (I find them a heysuccess.com) and apply! That way you can travel the world (some of them are even fully funded!) and learn so much more than just from a degree.

      • cianeko profile image

        AT Abueva 

        5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

        I am now a junior college student and have had a share of some of the problems you enumerated above such as study, money, job and choosing a major. But I think the worst of all is on my studies. Just recently, we had our final exam in literature (about criticism and stylistics) and I knew that I should have studied earlier because it would really cause me a lot including my scholarships (a solution to my money problems) and consequently, my job as a student assistant in one of the offices in the university if I will fail the subject, but I just made my reading and processing of the lengthy texts on the eleventh hour. To keep me up the whole night, I took a beverage containing a high dosage of caffeine. True enough, I was able to read almost all of the texts until 3AM before finally retiring. However, when it was time for me to take the exam all I could see every time I recall the information is darkness. Completely hopeless and nearly sobbing, I submitted my answer sheet wearily with no other thing or solution in mind but a prayer that God will help me pass the subject. Just lately, when I checked my grades I found out that I did not only pass, it is also a little bit higher than the cut off grade! With it I proved to myself that God answered my prayer. My passing of the subject is not just a mere consequence, but a product of a will. I already learned my lesson from that experience of mine and I am hoping that I will not stumble upon the same mistake again by managing my time properly.

        Thank you for sharing this hub! XD

      • profile image

        soka 

        5 years ago

        my problem is the cost that's why i stoped stadyed

      working

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