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All the signs and all the data points to one thing: Mental health concerns for college students continue to be on the rise. Campuses across the nation are seeing an influx in students needing help. The pressures of college could be from having to be a responsible adult, on your own for the first time, dealing with money and student debt, trying to do well in classes, pass major exams, feeling alone — the list goes on.

As mental health concerns grow on campuses around the United States, it begs the question: could online classes help alleviate the mental health crisis that students face? Pathways College is here to find out. Take a look at whether online courses could potentially be better at alleviating stress, anxiety, and even depression for college students.

TW: Suicide

Why is it important?

Before diving into whether college is less stressful when courses are taken online, it’s important to establish why this is an important issue.

Depression and anxiety are things that most of us experience from time to time, and they’re terribly difficult to work through. But there’s been a massive influx in college suicides which demands addressing.

As Psychology Today reports, “One of the most dangerous aspects of depression and mental health concerns in general is suicide. According to the American College Health Association (ACHA) the suicide rate among young adults, ages 15-24, has tripled since the 1950s and suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students.”

Depression and anxiety should be treated in a safe and normalized way. But if we can prevent them from ever happening, this is the best possible solution. Who knows — online courses might be a way to do so, and here’s how:

Less Money

Especially at Pathways College, where we offer full scholarships to our students each year, online courses tend to be significantly less expensive than going to a college campus. Living on campus is usually astronomically expensive, and even if you live off-campus, you’ll likely have to pay for parking and gas and deal with the hassle of commuting.

Money is one of the biggest sources of stress for people. It makes sense that as tuition rates continue to rise, so do mental health concerns. This isn’t to imply causation or correlation, but there’s definitely something to be said for rates of suicide, along with student debt, to be nearing an all-time high in 2019. By saving money with online courses, this is one source of stress that can be reduced (or even eliminated) for students.

Less Intimidating

College is a shock for everyone, particularly for first-generation college students. Going from an environment where everyone knows you to suddenly having massive and impersonal lecture halls can make it really hard to keep up with academics in the same way. There’s no one staying on top of your schooling in the way that a teacher or counselor might in high school.

When people start feeling like their academics are sliding, it becomes a slippery slope and it’s hard to recover. It’s even more difficult when professors aren’t as involved as what you might be used to.

With online courses, it’s a bit easier, especially at Pathways College. We make it our mission to provide as much support as necessary to help you stay on track. Plus, logging onto a class is much less intimidating than trying to find a seat in a packed lecture hall and hoping you’ve taken enough notes.

Less Rigid

For on-campus classes, you have to show up at an exact time in order to succeed. Missing a class due to illness or other reasons can quickly lead to you falling behind. This is true for anyone, but especially for those with existing illnesses (whether physical or otherwise), falling behind can exacerbate stress and symptoms as a whole.

Online courses are usually raved about because of their supreme flexibility. There are deadlines, but you can otherwise set your own pace. You can do classes after work or at a coffee shop on a Saturday morning — you have so many options. Setting your own pace can make a huge difference in understanding the material and succeeding and feeling incredibly overwhelmed and falling behind. It’s safe to say that flexibility makes things less stressful.

Whether online courses are a way to alleviate the mental health crisis that college students face has yet to be proven, but we do know that with Pathways College, we do what we can to make this transition go as smoothly as possible. If it’s your first time in college or you’re trying for your degree again, Pathways College offers unparalleled support for our students.

Look into our business administration and liberal studies programs today, find out more about enrollment and scholarships, and contact us to get started. Our online college is designed to put you on the Pathway to success.