Is Your College A Pressure Cooker?


Whoever said that college offers students a restful four year interlude between high school and the working world? Certainly, some students skate through college by meeting the minimum requirements, are satisfied with a C- average and enjoy the party life whenever or wherever it presents itself.

college studentsBut for many other students college life is downright stressful, perhaps to the point of contributing to a mental breakdown or worse: suicide.

Ranking Colleges

The Daily Beast, the news reporting and opinion website launched by former Vanity Fair and The New Yorker editor Tina Brown, analyzed the recent college rankings offered by U.S. News and World Report to determine the top 50 most stressful schools. The website included methodology developed by Keith Anderson, chairman of best practices at the American College Health Association, to create its list which they published earlier this week.

You’ll have to visit The Daily Beast to find the rankings of all 50 schools, but the Top 20 Most Stressful colleges reads like a who’s who of American universities:

1. Stanford University
2. Columbia University
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4. University of Pennsylvania
5. Harvard University
6. Princeton University
7. Vanderbilt University
8. Carnegie Mellon University
9. California Institute of Technology
10. Northwestern University
11. University of Chicago
12. Yale University
13. Washington University in St. Louis
14. Dartmouth College
15. Johns Hopkins University
16. Duke University
17. Cornell University
18. University of Southern California
19. Georgetown University
20. Brown University

So why the survey? Well, Brown’s staff has been following a growing trend on college campuses one that involves the mental health of today’s students. So far this academic year, six Cornell University have committed suicide with USA Today asking, “Does 6 deaths in 6 months make Cornell a suicide school?”

Criteria Used

The Daily Beast used five criteria to determine rank: financial costs; competitiveness; acceptance rate; prevalence of on-campus engineering studies; and crime on campus. Collectively, these criteria serve as stressors. Importantly, engineering isn’t a terrible career major. It just comes with a lot of demands.

The timing of the survey was meant to alert students who are just now beginning to receive their college acceptance letters in the mail. Though The Daily Beast is not warning people away from these schools, they are telling students and their families what to expect if they choose a school known to be a pressure cooker.

Adv. – Are you planning to head off to college this fall? If so, can help you get organized and reduce the stress of transitioning from high school to college life. Check out our helpful college planners and free downloads today!


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