Study Skills Can Help Prevent Depression in College Students

The majority of college students will make it through those few years with ease. They will have a lot of fun and succeed academically. However, some of them will struggle. During the first year of college, students may feel depressed, anxious or overwhelmed by all they need to do.

Most students leave for college having high expectations. They believe college will be the best time of their lives. They are about to start a new life that will lead them to a carefree adulthood. So, what’s the problem? Why are they depressed?

Academic struggles are the main cause of college depression. According to the ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA), 44.2 percent of the students said that the major cause of unhappiness and depression was academics. Other causes are personal problems that relate to intimate relationships and money issues.

College students feel pressured. They want to succeed to make their parents proud and to achieve their own goals. If they are forced to drop out for any variety of reasons, they will feel embarrassed and discouraged. Everything will change. Their career plans will be abandoned and their future will be uncertain. 

Many students are simply not prepared well enough for a college curriculum. They studied at weak high schools that didn’t teach them basic skills. Or, in contrast, they may have attended schools with a strong curriculum but were dependent on the help of their parents or tutors regarding workloads. However, both groups of students do not know how to study. Such students often do not ask for help because they are ashamed. They believe they are the only ones with this problem or they assume they should be smart enough to overcome it.

Some colleges attempt to make up for a poor high school curriculum. They offer courses regarding basic skills training to reteach high school, which can be more difficult than teaching students how to study.

Regardless of what kind of high school students graduate from, courses on how to study should be required for all college students. Such courses can be legitimized by making them as pedagogically sound and intellectually precise as other courses. As an example, students who study a foreign language should have a theoretical component and a lab where they put their knowledge into practice, with the emphasis on the lab in such courses. This is because most students learn the content but the process of mastering that content is skipped.

Students’ academic success will benefit everyone. Students will learn more once they are motivated to learn and when they learn how to study. Professors will enjoy teaching and parents will be proud of their happy children. For all those students preparing for college life, college can still be one of the best times of their lives.


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