The Most Common Challenges Facing Students Attending College For The First Time

The day that you head off to college is a moment that every teenager looks forward to. College offers you a chance to reinvent yourself, to explore the world with the freedom that you have always wanted. It is considered the best time in a lot of people’s lives, and for good reason.

However, moving away to a new town on your own is a big step. Therefore, it is not unusual to experience a few challenges when making the transition from family life to college life. These challenges are quite common, though, which means that you are certain to find someone else that can help you through these difficult times. As such, read on to find out about the most common challenges that you may face when attending college for the first time.

Academic Pressure

While college can provide you with a new sense of freedom, let’s not forget why you are there in the first place. Students who attend college are doing so to earn a Bachelor’s degree, an achievement that should help them find a job in their chosen field of study. As such, you will have to study hard to come out the other side with a diploma.

The main problem that many new college students face is that there is a big leap in difficulty between high school academia and college academia. This difficulty spike can intimidate some students, and many will achieve lower grades than they are used to for the first few weeks.

College professors expect this dip in performance; however. In fact, many professors will grade on a curve until such a time when everyone is through the adjustment period. The important thing to note is that you should not let these initial disappointments get the better of you. Learn from your mistakes and try to adjust your study patterns accordingly to reflect this jump in academic performance and you will catch up in no time. College is supposed to help you adapt to new challenges, after all.

Adapting To Social Changes

It is unlikely that any of your high school peers will join you at your chosen college, and that can put a strain on your previous relationships. College is a time of great change and making the appropriate adjustments takes a great effort. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel neglected if you do not hear from your old friends for a while. They are trying to adapt to their new lives just as you are, so they may be distracted for some time.

On the other hand, you are having to interact with an entirely new group of peers. Try to remember that every new face that you meet is going through the exact same thing as you are, and you may feel less pressure moving forward. Making friends takes time, so be patient and you will find that your social calendar soon fills up.


Depression is a mental illness that is common among young people. Add on top of this the fact that studies show that almost 44% of college students experience depression at some point during their academic career, and you can see why this is a common problem among new college attendees. You will have to contend with a lot of change in your first few months away, so it is perfectly natural to feel lost or experience low moods.

The most important thing to do in this case is acknowledge these feelings, especially if you have never experienced them before. Help is out there, and it can present itself in many different forms. It may be that you need to talk to a friend, a professional on campus, or seek out self-care tips for college students at Talkiatry. Also, try and remember that these feelings are only temporary. You will soon feel like yourself again once you recognize what has caused this shift in mood.


Another aspect of college life that you should always be honest with yourself about is your financial situation. A college is a place full of new opportunities; unfortunately, these opportunities cost money. What’s more, this might be the first time that you have had to budget for yourself, a task that only gets easier with experience.

That is why you may benefit from taking things slowly throughout your first semester. Use this time to gauge how much money you have to spend on essentials while holding back on more frivolous spending. This approach keeps you fully stocked on the things you need and paints an accurate picture of how much money you have access to for your leisure. You can learn to budget properly this way and figure out whether your finances need to be subsidized by a job or other means.

Roommate Disagreements

While it is true that this is your first time living away from home, you aren’t necessarily going to be living alone at college. It is common for most first-year students to share a dorm with a roommate, and this individual is randomly assigned to them by the college admissions team. Your first college roommate has come from a completely different walk of life, and they have their own routines and values. As such, disagreements are bound to occur.

Again, you should always try and remember that those around you are probably just as unsure as you are about their new surroundings, so cut your roommate some slack in certain areas. Conflict is a common part of human life, so try and keep your roommate’s disagreements in perspective. If things start to get particularly heated, remove yourself from the situation and give each other space. Also, remember that you can always request to move dorms if all else fails. Everyone wants to get along, so make sure that you are doing your best to allow this to happen.


A big part of the college experience is discovering new things about the real world. As such, you are bound to be confronted with several problems when you first attend, but overcoming these challenges is all part of the fun.

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