Common Challenges College Students Face and How to Overcome Them: A College Survival Guide

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College most definitely comes with its fair share of challenges that can be a bit overwhelming. In this guide, we will explore some of the most common challenges college students face, how these challenges can affect your academic and personal lives, and, most importantly, strategies to overcome or prevent them.

Set yourself up for success and a fulfilling college experience by recognizing the challenges you may face and how to get through them confidently.


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For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

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Challenges College Students Face #1

Academic Stress

Challenge: We all know that college comes with a substantial course load that can be demanding, ultimately leading to academic stress. You will be taking on multiple classes, assignments, and exams, which can be mentally and emotionally taxing. All of that is normal as a college student. With that said, it is important to know how to balance everything and properly handle stress.

Impact: Academic stress can result in anxiety, poor concentration, and even burnout, affecting overall academic performance.

Tips to Overcome Academic Stress:

  • Set a study schedule and maintain a realistic routine that fits your daily activities + rest.
  • Develop effective time management skills that will help you to minimize procrastination; minimize the feeling of never having enough time.
  • Seek help from professors or tutors when needed.
  • Practice self-care, including regular exercise and sufficient amount of sleep.

Challenges College Students Face #2

Financial Strain

Challenge: A vast majority of college students face financial challenges, including tuition costs, textbooks, and daily expenses. College is not cheap which is why balancing finances and finding ways to pay for everything can be stressful.

Impact: Financial strain can ultimately lead to anxiety, impact on mental health, and even force some students to work excessively, affecting their academic progress.

Tips to Overcome Financial Strain:

Challenges College Students Face #3


Time Management Issues:
Challenge: College life often introduces newfound freedom and responsibilities, which can lead to poor time management. Rest is needed, procrastination is a choice. Manage your time wisely in college.

Impact: Ineffective time management can result in missed deadlines, rushed assignments, and a lack of work-life balance. Overall, the inability to manage time wisely will increase stress and stump progress.

Tips to Overcome Time Management Issues:

  • Read our post on Staying Productive and Beating Procrastination to receive tips on transforming your studying.
  • Use digital calendars or planners.
  • Find a time management method that best suits you: Prioritizing tasks, time blocking, etc
  • Set achievable goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself by setting an unrealistic timeline.
  • Avoid procrastination. Stop making excuses.
  • Establish a daily routine to optimize time management.
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Beat Procrastination & Stay Productive

The most effective methods you can use to overcome procrastination and remain productive as a student, and young professional, in college.

Challenges College Students Face #4


Challenge: College can be emotionally challenging because of social pressure, academic pressure, and trying to meet your own expectations. All of the above can eventually lead to anxiety, depression, or the feeling of helplessness.

Impact: Mental health issues can greatly hinder your academic performance, interpersonal relationships, and overall well-being. Majority of students suffer through mental health issues in college, if you are too, you are not alone.

Tips to Overcome Mental Health Issues:

  • Seek support from campus counseling services.
  • Join student support groups, share what you are going through to release tension and gain accountability partners.
  • Practice mindfulness and stress-reduction techniques (e.g. meditation, exercise, music).
  • Maintain open communication with friends and family. Do not isolate yourself.

Challenges College Students Face #5


Challenge: if you are moving or have moved away from home for college, it can be scary and/or lonely. It may trigger homesickness, leading to feelings of isolation and longing.

Impact: Homesickness can negatively affect your mental health, academic focus, and your overall college experience.

Tips to Overcome Homesickness:

  • Stay connected with family and friends through regular communication.
  • Get involved in campus activities, participate in social events.
  • Establish a support network of peers and mentors that can make sure you are not alone.

Challenges College Students Face #6


Challenge: College often introduces students to new social environments and peer pressure situations, which can lead to unhealthy habits.

Impact: Peer pressure can influence choices related to substance use, unhealthy eating, life and academic choices.

Tips to Overcome Peer Pressure & Social Challenges:

  • Surround yourself with positive influences. Hang around people who share the same goals and values as you. Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Make informed decisions that do not compromise your future and beliefs.
  • Seek supportive friends who share your values, and utilize campus resources like counseling and wellness programs.

Challenges College Students Face #7


Challenge: Competition among students may be present due to the desire to excel academically. You may also feel like you can’t measure up, that it’s difficult to even meet your own expectations.

Impact: Excessive academic pressure can lead to stress, anxiety, and a focus on grades over genuine learning.

Tips to Overcome Academic Pressure and Competition:

  • Focus on personal growth and learning. School is not everything.
  • Use methods that work best for you! Simplify studying and develop habits that will help you. You can use this guide to help you study effectively: How to Remember What You Study. 
  • Identify your goals outside of academics, such as finances, personal life, small business. Your greatest competition is yourself.
  • Seek academic support when needed.
  • Maintain a healthy perspective on the value of education beyond grades.
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how to remember what you study!

These are simple and effective study methods to help you succeed in your college studying. It is not about memorization or passiveness, it is about comprehension, engagement and building good study habits.

Challenges College Students Face #8


Challenge: Juggling academics, social life, finances, extracurricular activities, family etc can overwhelm students. This can lead to exhaustion and burnout if your plate is full and you don’t know how to properly manage it all.

Impact: Overcommitting can negatively affect your mental and physical health. You can grow exhausted and feel burnt out which will then lead to the feelings of laziness, low academic performance, and not prioritizing a healthy lifestyle.

Tips to Overcome Overcommitting:

  • Read our article on Work School Life Balance to know what strategies you can use to effectively balance everything on your plate. 
  • Identify your life goals, create a realistic game plan for each and stick to it.
  • Prioritize activities that align with your goals. Ask yourself: Will this help me get to where I want to be? Will this support me in my goals/journey?
  • Learn to say no when necessary. Your life is your own, your actions and decisions will affect you the most.
  • Maintain a routine, a balanced schedule that includes time for loved ones, self-care and relaxation.

Challenges College Students Face #9


Challenge: Living with roommates is not always easy. There may be times that conflicts arise over shared spaces, responsibilities, or personal differences.

Impact: Roommate conflicts can lead to stress, anxiety, and an uncomfortable living environment.

Tips to Overcome Challenging Roommates:

  • Communicate openly and honestly with roommates.
  • Set clear expectations and boundaries.
  • Seek assistance from resident advisors or housing authorities if conflicts escalate.

Challenges College Students Face #10

career uncertainty

Challenge: Many college students face uncertainty about their future career, ultimately leading to self-doubt, lack of confidence and anxiety.

Impact: Career uncertainty can create stress and hinder decision-making. It may lead to changing majors more than once, delays in post-graduation plans, or remaining stagnant in life.

Tips to Overcome Career Uncertainty:

  • Read this guide on Career Planning and Exploration to help you explore your options and plan out your career path.
  • Read our article on the best career books that will help you figure out exactly what you want and in choosing the best career for yourself.
  • Utilize campus career counseling services.
  • Explore your options through internships and co-op programs.
  • Build a personalized career path that best suits your values, personality and long-term goals.
  • Network with professionals in your field.

Remember that it’s normal to feel uncertain, and your college years are an opportunity to explore and make informed career choices.

Challenges College Students Face #11

Fear of Independence

Challenge: College often marks the transition to independence, which can be challenging, scary and filled with uncertainty.

Impact: The newfound freedom and responsibility may lead to unawareness of what is to come. Being unprepared and uneducated may result in difficulties in managing time, finances, and personal affairs.

Tips to Overcome the Fear of Independence:

  • Embrace this chance to learn and grow independently.
  • Educate yourself whenever a new challenge arises. Do not shrink back, face it head on.
  • Create a budget, establish routines, prioritize self-care, and seek support when needed.
  • Join clubs or groups to connect with peers who share your interests and provide a support network.
  • Independence in college is about finding the right balance between freedom and responsibility, so take it one step at a time.
This Concludes Common Challenges College Students Face and How to Overcome Them: A College Survival Guide!

College life is exciting and the best time to challenge yourself with all that it throws at you. It is important to develop awareness and create proactive strategies to overcome these common obstacles so you can thrive in your academic and personal journey.

Seek help and support when needed! It is a sign of strength and diligence and learning from the wise will make your college experience far easier. College is a time of growth, learning, and achievement. Embrace it and keep moving forward.

By addressing these challenges head-on, you’ll emerge from college stronger, wiser, and well-prepared for the future.

love, Jas Joy

We will explore some of the most common challenges college students face, how these challenges can affect your academic and personal lives, and, most importantly, strategies to overcome or prevent them.
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