Assisting Students at Risk

Responding to Specific Behaviors - Students With Anxiety

Responding to Students with Anxiety

Anxiety can be generalized across a range of situations, or it may be situation-specific (e.g., test anxiety, social anxiety, public speaking anxiety).

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • stress
  • panic
  • avoidance
  • irrational fears (losing control, phobias, dying, falling apart)
  • excessive worry (ruminations and obsessions)
  •  sleep or eating problems
  • depression, impatience, irritability, frustration



  • Talk to the student in private.
  • Remain calm and take the lead in a soothing manner (“I am quite interested to hear what’s bothering you. Can you tell me about it?”).
  • Focus on relevant information, speaking concretely and concisely.
  • Help the student develop an action plan that addresses main concerns. Breaking larger problems into smaller parts will make things less overwhelming to the student.
  • Refer the student to the Counseling Center 607-274-3136, the Health Center, 607-274-3177, or other appropriate resources.



  • Overwhelming the student with information or complicated solutions.
  • Arguing with student’s irrational thoughts (“You have nothing really to worry about, your grades are good”).
  • Devaluing the information presented (“It’s not as bad as you think” or “Don’t worry, you have everything going for you”).
  • Assuming the student will get over the anxiety without treatment