Common Fears About College and How to Overcome Them

Overcome these common fears freshmen have about college.

Flickr user Chris Chabot

There’s no doubt that college is a big step and a life-changing one. It can be jarring for quite a lot of freshman! Don’t worry though; you’re not alone in your fears. These are only a few common fears incoming college students have.

Fear of Change

College is change. You’ll be living in a new place, meeting new people, making new friends, learning under new professors, taking new courses, and experiencing new things and events. Not everyone welcomes change easily.

However, don’t forget everyone else is having that “brand new” experience, same as you! You’re all going through the same things together. No one knows what the four years will bring. If you’re still struggling with the anxiety of the change, try exercising to reduce stress. You may also meet new friends at the gym who can help make the change a bit easier and make your new school feel like home. Or speak to the school therapist. Many colleges offer mental health services (sometimes for FREE) to their students.

Fear of Loneliness

More often than not, new freshman to a college don’t know anyone very well at their new school. Occasionally, your best or close friends may choose the same college, but usually that isn’t the case. It’s easy to become afraid that you won’t meet anyone you care for or want to spend time with. This can lead to a fear of loneliness or alienation.

In college, there are so many different people from varying backgrounds and parts of the country (and world). There are many places to make new friends—your dorm floor, classmates, clubs, sports, student organizations, friends of friends.

Fear of Failure

Fear of failure is a big one and, for some people, it continues throughout their college career and after graduation. College classes are different and, in most cases, more difficult than high school courses. If you don’t head this fear off though, it could become paralyzing throughout your stay at the school and after you head to your new career.

Try understanding yourself and your fear of failure. First think, “Are these reasonable fears?” They may not be and may have a very small chance of even occurring. If you’re particularly afraid of failing something, a test, for example, consider how to prevent that from happening. What steps can you take? Studying, completing your homework, and attending your courses are your first steps to not failing tests or classes.

There may be something else you’re afraid of while heading to your first week of college. You should always remember though that you’re not alone! There are hundreds or thousands of freshman at your school who are going through the exact same event. Many others will be unwelcoming to the change, afraid they won’t make friends or fear they’ll flunk out of college. The first step to overcoming your fear, however, is understanding yourself and what you’re afraid of.

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