Academic ability and extracurricular achievements are not always enough to make the transition to college a smooth process (“Is Your Child Emotionally Ready for College?” The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 24). If they were, then mental illness on college campuses wouldn’t be nearly as high, with a third receiving treatment at campus counseling centers.
Going off to college has always been fraught with the possibility of emotional disorders because it is the first time that young people live without adult supervision. But what is new today are the numbers of students who seek out treatment.
There are many factors, including high rates of divorce among parents and income insecurity. Yet I think the major cause is the unrelenting pressure to excel that so many young people have felt since the time they entered preschool. Parents have a hard time finding a healthy balance between hovering and neglect. As a result, students are at a loss when left to their own devices.
Colleges and universities today recognize that the old sink-or-swim policy is unnecessarily harsh, particularly when they enroll so many students from diverse backgrounds. I hope they continue to recognize how counterproductive the former philosophy is.
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