Student with laptop and notebook

7 Ways You Can Support Your Anxious College Student Power Through Finals

Posted on May, 09, 2022 by

Can we all just agree that it’s been a rough semester?  The pattern of student motivation decreasing as the temperature rises in the spring has been true since the stone ages.  But, the level of student anxiety and depression this semester, and really this whole school year, has been through the roof.  Students in the midst of college finals find themselves caught between wanting to do well on their finals and finding the motivation to prepare. In researching for this article, the studies all point to the lingering mental health issues as a result of the pandemic and its impact on students.

“Since the pandemic began, rates of psychological distress among young people, including symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, have increased. Recent research covering 80,000 youth globally found that depressive and anxiety symptoms doubled during the pandemic.  Office of the Surgeon General

It has been well documented that there was already a mental health crisis among college students before the pandemic. Common sense tells us that when the rates of depression and anxiety double, student drop-out rates also increase. In addition to students taking medical leaves during the semester, it has become much more common for students to not return to school after the fall semester

Schools are well aware of these trends and most are taking them quite seriously.  For instance, West Virginia University students have 24-7 access to the Crisis Text Line, a mental health service where they can text a live, trained counselor who responds to messages privately. Cooper Union, a private college in New York City, has created Cooper Care, an app and online platform that give students 24-7 access to virtual healthcare providers. More and more colleges are offering telehealth counseling services so students don’t need to go to the counseling center to meet with their therapist. This has proven to be very successful in engaging students in mental health care.

Here are some quick tips that you can do to help your child push through college finals:

1. Connect – Use a platform such as Zoom to connect with your college student.  Have them share their screen and search for counseling resources together and, if possible, make an appointment while you are still screensharing.

2. De-Stress – Colleges typically offer yoga classes, meditation, therapy puppies, free pizza and snacks, etc. during finals week.  Access is usually listed on the website.

3. Listen – If your college student calls and expresses high levels of stress and anxiety, don’t try to jump in and solve the problem. Just listen. Letting your child “vent” is one of the best ways to help.

4. Support – Check in with a “how’s it going?” text, but don’t get caught up in long text exchanges or frequent lengthy phone calls. Recognize the difference between supporting your child and enabling them to avoid what they are supposed to be doing.

5. Re-direct – Direct your conversations away from finals or papers and toward something your child is looking forward to, such as an upcoming vacation.

6. Follow your student’s school on social media to see what they are doing to support students’ mental health.

7. Stay positive – Letting them know you are proud of them goes a long way.

Please keep in mind that you are not alone on this journey. Many resources are available to support you and your family. If you would like further information, please email