Top 10 Fears Students Have About College: Student Debt Is Not #1!

We surveyed 3000+ students about their biggest fears of college. We found some known and some new fears.

Vidya Narayanan
Jan 4, 2018 · 3 min read

Whether or not you’ve attended college, you probably agree that college is hard! But, do you know what worries students the most about college?

In order to understand this, we surveyed 3000+ students (high school and undergraduate) across the country. Here are the top 10 fears students wrote about college.

#10. Starting a new life with no one I know.

Almost a third of the students surveyed checked this as one of their fears. Being away from family and all known friends is an intimidating beginning to life — this is a fear that may not get talked about a lot, but is felt by many!

#9. Not being able to positively impact the world.

It used to be that we wanted to graduate to get good jobs and make a living. The youth of today want to do a LOT more. They care about making a positive impact in the world and worry that they may fail in their pursuit of that goal.

#8. Losing my SO over a long distance relationship struggle.

The dating culture today makes it impossible to find love. For people who are in loving, caring relationships, the thought of losing their SO keeps them up at night!

#7. Meeting the wrong people who get me in trouble.

As much as awareness runs high these days, dangers run deep as well. And students are afraid of falling into bad company!

#6. Not being able to maintain good grades.

Especially for people with good grades in high school, it is unnerving to be surrounded by brighter and more hard working students that college might bring.

#5. Making new friends.

As astounding 65% of the survey participants wrote about their fears of being alone and not being able to make new friends! This is a real fear for most people seeking new friendships in their post-phone years.

#4. Picking the right college.

It’s literally like picking from dozens of seemingly great or mediocre or bad choices, depending on how you look at it. There are too many choices and too much information to be understanding which of these choices are right for anyone!

#3. Being accepted for who I am.

Young adults increasingly develop their personalities early nowadays. They often understand who they are and want to be accepted for it. But with increasing displays of intolerance in various parts of the country, students are worried about being accepted in college. Nearly 85% of the students surveyed expressed this concern!

#2. College fees and debt.

While student loans didn’t top the list, it was a close second. No surprises there!

#1. Choosing the right major.

To our surprise, what topped the list with over 90% of the surveyed participants picking this as their top concern was choosing the right major! With the rapidly changing landscape of tech and business, it is not automatically clear what majors bring the best of career options and self satisfaction all at the same time. Students worry about picking the wrong major and having to drop out. Or graduating with the wrong major and not finding a job. Or worse still, not being happy in what they end up doing.

So, what’s the conclusion?

As we processed these survey results, we realized that the one thing that can help addressing most of these fears is more communication. Between prospective students and current students. Between students and the teaching community. Between students and their peers. The more they can communicate, the more they can seek solace on their individual fears.

Over the next few months, this is one of the key things I’ll be focused on — bringing interactive communities together for students. Want to learn more? Drop a note!

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to…

Vidya Narayanan

Written by

Building Rizzle (, the future of video! In past life (@Google, @Qualcomm), I built stuff that you’ve likely used!

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

Vidya Narayanan

Written by

Building Rizzle (, the future of video! In past life (@Google, @Qualcomm), I built stuff that you’ve likely used!

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

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