Additionally, parents leaving and returning could help the child acclimate to the new environment. These steps often alleviated many uncertainties before the child’s actual start at school.

High School Students Dealing With School Anxiety 

However, when it comes to high school and university students, while anxiety is brought on by uncertainty, it is a different kind of uncertainty. Young people are more independent. Their anxieties are often related to uncertainty of how they would fit into the school setting, whether they would make new friends, how friendly and accepting the new environment will be, and whether they will be able to cope with the school work that they are assigned. To deal with school anxiety, in particular, can significantly impact their social interactions and academic performance.

High School Students Dealing With School Anxiety

In high school, students may be more concerned with friendships, with being accepted, and not being bullied. Being popular becomes very important in high school, with students hoping to be part of the in-group and not considered a nerd. There is also the fear of being labelled as sexually non-conforming or deviant, which is a major issue for high school students who may not be heterosexual, or who may be just trying to figure out their sexual identity. Fear of school work being a challenge may not be a serious issue for high school students, although there is a relatively high drop out rate in some communities.

University Students

Many university students experience anxiety as many of them may move away from their communities to attend university.  This means that they are physically cut off from family and friends and may feel totally alone in their new environments. This is particularly the case for foreign students, many of whom may not be particularly fluent in English.  Other students entering college or university are uncertain about their living conditions, even when they live in dormitories.  They may feel uncertainty over fitting into the university community, while others want to join the right clubs, fraternities and sororities.

University Students

Uncertainty, Anxiety, and Mental Health Concerns about School

Uncertainty leads to anxiety, and this anxiety could become so intense that students develop mental health difficulties. To deal with school anxiety, particularly in the face of uncertainty, is paramount to prevent it from escalating into more serious issues. Other concerns that some university students may experience include feelings of inadequacy with being able to cope with the academic work, and not being able to earn the grades that would allow them to excel and remain in school.

Uncertainty, Anxiety, and Mental Health Concerns about School

Many of these students have concerns about failing. Anticipating their first tests could also cause a lot of anxiety for some students. However, there are often staff contacts that also reach out to students who may be having difficulty adjusting, either emotionally or academically.

Some Ways of Coping 

Maintaining Contact with Family and Friends Back Home

These are all experiences that some high school and university students experience. To deal with school anxiety, however, can be mitigated by fostering a supportive network. Students, whether in high school or university, may feel uncertain about the experiences they would face, but maintaining a close support group with whom to communicate is important. Having someone with whom to share your experiences can provide comfort and reassurance. Maintaining contact with parents, siblings, and friends, regardless of distance, allows students to have some place to express and vent their feelings when necessary. This support system can help alleviate the feelings of isolation and anxiety that often accompany the transition to a new school environment.

Some Ways of Coping of Anxiety

Joining Clubs and Organizations at College and  University

In most school settings, there are clubs and organizations that focus on helping new students to adapt, and this is one of the important places with which students should make contact, as they would find people there who are likely to have a sympathetic and understanding ear. To deal with school anxiety, students can benefit greatly from connecting with these support groups, where they can find peers who have experienced similar challenges and are willing to offer guidance and support. In many cases, the people in some of these associations are older students who have experienced anxieties fitting in and are there to help make the way easier for new students. Therefore, find out about the different clubs and organizations in your institution. These groups can provide a sense of belonging and camaraderie, easing the transition into a new school environment.

Be Aware of Some Unseemly and Bullying Practices on Campuses

For some university students, becoming part of a sorority or fraternity is crucial, and this sometimes exposes the young person to difficult situations. Hazing is a practice that takes place on many campuses in North America, and in some cases, this could expose the young person to harm.  While these situations may not appear critical to many students trying to fit into the university setting, it is a real concern to parents and should be to most students.

A Word of Caution When Dealing with School Anxiety  

Therefore, pay attention to fraternities and sororities that may require unusual or unacceptable behaviour to become a member.  Recognize that having to carry out some of the unusual tasks for membership could put a student in harm’s way and avoid it. In other cases, these are fine organizations to which to belong.

Always Do the Right Thing. You Know What It Is

However, if you are in a similar situation, remember, no membership is worth the danger or to make you feel uncomfortable. No membership is worth it to lead to legal problems because of your participation in activity that you know is wrong, but which you believe will bring you notoriety and popularity.  Do the right thing. No membership is worth your compromising your integrity to be part of something unseemly.

Take Time to Adjust & Focus on School Work

Also, take time to adjust to your new environments. Remember that it will take time for you to make new friends and adjust to the new routine in high school or university.  In the meantime, pay attention to the requirements of your courses, keep up with your readings, and mark due dates for assignments, so that you are not overwhelmed at the end.  Following these ideas would help to reduce some of the anxieties you may be experiencing. Remember, mental health is very fragile, so speak to others and seek out help when you feel overwhelmed.    Also, most schools, whether high school, college or university, have a social program where students who feel overwhelmed could get some support. Take advantage of the support provided.

More information on how to deal with school anxiety is available in the paperback book or ebook,  Preventing Dropout and Overcoming School Failure: 30 Ways for Older Teens and Young Adults to Achieve Academic Success at and at other book outlets. For more information on how to resist going along with the crowd and being responsible, read Welcoming Responsibilities: 30 Ways for Older Teens and Young Adults to Handle Responsibilities available at

Share these and other ideas with your friends and acquaintances and check out our series of books at