Pressure piling high: How high school students cope with post-secondary stress


Brady Hunter

Senior Alex Hunter begins the application process to the University of Iowa State early Tuesday morning.

Brady Hunter, Multimedia Manager

From early adolescence, students have been taught that college is a staple for success, pushing teenagers to prepare for university prior to the development of key strengths and skill sets received over the course of high school.

Parental pressure has led to an increased number of college dropouts. Additionally, it has decreased a plethora of students’ standard of living and well-being. 

Authors Grace Moriarty and Mary Kett shared qualitative data from a 2019 survey regarding post-secondary pressure among high school students.

Seventy-four percent of York students claimed pressures regarding post-high school plans came from parents/family members and peers. Fortunately, not many students felt this pressure was caused by teachers (28 percent) or counselors (18 percent).” Moreover, it is mandatory that parental guardians do a better job of helping students choose the right path for their future endeavors. 

Learning about the possible routes for post secondary education is a vital step in the development of students at the high school. Leslie Spiller, a high school counselor, depicted the numerous pathways students are able to take following the graduation of high school. “There are several 2 year university routes which award students with associate degrees or certificates of achievement. Additionally, a handful of students choose to go into an apprenticeship which includes first-hand experience along with pay, side-by-side. Lastly, students may choose to go into the military or straight into the workforce in respect to their prior experience,” she said.

Although university is a sufficient avenue for some, there are several programs, certificates and degrees that can be earned outside of the classroom. Regardless of the route they choose, students deserve to receive the correct post-secondary education in regards to their future.  

Furthermore, the Federal Reserve provided insight into the United States’ national student loan debt in a 2021 study. “Outstanding U.S. student loan debt reached $1.7 trillion at the end of 2020, an all-time high.” Statistically, the financial mountain that university students must climb 

following their high school career can be daunting. 

As students begin examining the possible outcomes of their post-secondary decisions, making a confident choice will be advantageous to their future success and will provide a feasible timeline for students for the future.