The transition from high school to college is a critical milestone for many young people, often representing the first time they leave the comfort and support of their childhood home to experience a more independent lifestyle. It is a time of excitement and opportunity, but it can also be a stressful period in life that takes a toll on students' emotional and mental health. This past spring, Harris Poll conducted an online survey of 1,502 U.S. college students to better understand their experiences during their first year at college. The study, commissioned by The JED Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and The Jordan Porco Foundation has significant implications for parents, educators and students alike.
The results of this study provide critical information that can inform the discussion around college mental and emotional health. It reveals the true extent of the struggles faced by first-year college students and shows that silence and isolation continue to pervade college life. It also highlights the pivotal role that external pressures like social media, school prestige, and other non-academic challenges play in the emotional health of students.