5 Warning Signs Your College Student May Be in Trouble

Written By Marc Lehman

Owner and Family Therapist at U ARE HEARD LLC

As a parent, it can be tough to let go and trust your college student to make good decisions on their own. But it’s important to remember that part of the college experience is learning how to manage independence. With that said, there are certain warning signs that may indicate your student is having difficulty adjusting to college life.

If you see any of these 5 warning signs, it may be time to have a conversation with your student.

  1. Your student is skipping class more often than they’re attending.

One of the most important things college students can do is attend class regularly. If you notice your student is missing class more often than they’re going, it may be time to check in and see how they’re doing. Skipping class can lead to poor grades and eventually getting dropped from the course altogether. It can also be a sign that your student is struggling to keep up with the material.

  1. Your student’s grades have slipped.

If you’ve been checking in on your student’s grades and you’ve noticed a significant drop from their previous academic performance, it may be cause for concern. A drop in grades can indicate that your student is struggling with the material, or it might suggest they’re not prioritizing school as much as they should be. In either case, it’s worth checking in with your student to see how they’re doing academically and what might be causing the decline in their grades.

  1. Your student is isolate themselves from friends and family.

It’s normal for college students to want some space and privacy as they adjust to their new independence. But if you notice your student isolate themselves completely—not just from family but from friends too—it may be cause for concern. This behavior could indicate that your student is struggling emotionally or socially, and might benefit from some additional support.

  1. Your student seems overly stressed or anxious.

Stress is a normal part of the college experience, but if you notice your student seems unusually stressed or anxious, it might be a sign that they’re struggling to cope with the demands of college life. Stress and anxiety can manifest in different ways, so pay attention to changes in your student’s behavior or mood—such as withdrawing from social activities, biting their nails, or excessive outbursts of anger—that might suggest they’re struggling emotionally.

  1. Your intuition tells you something isn’t right.

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else—so trust your gut if you feel like something isn’t right. If you have a sneaking suspicion that something might be wrong, even if you can’t put your finger on it, reach out to your student and see how they’re doing. They may not open up right away, but starting a conversation about how they’re really feeling can help identify any underlying issues before they become bigger problems down the road.


The college years can be both an exciting and challenging time for students and parents alike. It’s important to trust your instincts when it comes to your child’s well-being and always err on the side of caution if you feel like something might be wrong. If you see any of these 5 warning signs in your college student, reach out and start a conversation—it could make all the difference in helping them succeed in college and beyond!