You are sitting in your classroom listening to your fellow classmates give their first speeches. They are all doing a phenomenal job! You’re actually quite proud of them because you know how hard they’ve worked. Then, your professor calls out your name. You walk towards the front of your class. As you do, you say to yourself “you can do this! You have practiced this a million times. You can give this speech in your sleep.” 

You take your position, look out at your class, and open your mouth. But nothing comes out. Suddenly, your hands start sweating, your knees start trembling, and everything in your mind goes completely blank. Your heart is beating so hard within your chest you are 100% convinced your class can see it pounding through your shirt. Your stomach now has an Olympic gold medalist somersaulting endlessly as if it were fighting for the gold in the pit of your stomach. 

Not only is your grade on the line but also your reputation. And within that moment despite your best efforts, you’re paralyzed. To be honest, you are not even sure if you’re still breathing. Time seems to be standing still. All eyes are on you. 

You start to hear some snickers far off in the distance. Thankfully your professor comes to your defense by telling you it’s ok, take a minute to regroup. You wonder why is public speaking in college so hard? You walk off the stage, regain your composure, take a few deep breaths, and attempt your speech again. To your surprise, this time you are successful!

Were you able to visualize this scenario? Have you ever been in this situation? Speaking from experience it is a terrible feeling. Some will go through college and never have this experience. To them, public speaking may come naturally. That’s great! But for the majority that is not the case. 

Public speaking in college has caused many to feel anxious and a seemingly unending sense of dread. You may also wonder why is public speaking in college is so hard? We know how important the answer is to you and knowing it can be life-changing. Do not worry, you will find the answer below.

Why Is Public Speaking In College Hard?

There are many reasons why a hearty number of college students feel public speaking in college is hard. Two of the main reasons are fear and or a lack of preparation.

1. Fear

Fear can make any dreaded activity or circumstance even more debilitating. There are several reasons why a student may fear standing in front of their class and sharing their ideas. Some of these fears come from: 

  • Public speaking not being their strong suit. Maybe they do not feel that they know enough or can express what they want to say in the most efficient way
  • Comparing themselves to other students in the class, especially to the ones who may appear not to struggle with public speaking or even excel at it
  • Having a traumatic public speaking experience in high school and those feelings have transferred over to the present day
  • Realizing that their grades are dependent on this, and if they fail, they dread having to take the course all over again. By agonizing over this thought, they increase their stress level and add more pressure on themselves, which in turn increases their anxiety and it affects the quality of their presentations
  • Others fear being humiliated. However, it is good to remember that everyone will make mistakes. Forgetting your speech comes with the territory, and most of the time no one even notices. We are the ones who notice because we knew exactly what we wanted to say and how to deliver it

2. Lack of preparation

Lack of preparation can make even the most experienced public speaker or orator nervous. Imagine the amount of pressure being unprepared puts on someone who is just starting out giving presentations. 

When you are unprepared everyone can tell. This causes others to pay more attention to you, which is exactly the thing that you were trying to avoid. What are some factors that cause some students not to prepare thoroughly ahead of time? Some factors include:

  • Procrastination. There are many reasons why a student may to this. One reason is because they simply do not want to complete the assigned assignment. But before we write off every student there is another reason why they may be procrastinating. 

In 2018, Devon Prince, who is a social psychology professor at Loyola University enlightens us with another vantage point. He reasoned on the underlying causes of procrastination in which one of them is a fear of failure. 

This makes sense when it comes to public speaking. Maybe the student had good intentions and started writing their speech but just became so overwhelmed with the fear of failing that they kept putting off its completion until it was to late.

  • To many distractions. Not seeking out a quiet place so that they can concentrate and put their thoughts on paper. Also, not setting time limits when it comes to social media and recreation can crowd out valuable time that could have been spent preparing for the presentation
Is Public Speaking Hard In College

What Will You Learn While Attending Public Speaking Classes In College?

Public speaking does not come naturally to most but thankfully it is a skill that you can learn. Public speaking classes are beneficial for everyone who takes them. They help build your confidence and enhance your speaking skills. Each course may have some slight variations but overall, you can expect to learn:

  • How to overcome your fear of public speaking
  • The art of crafting effective speeches in several different styles
  • How to cultivate proper rehearsal techniques that can help you nail your presentation every time 
  • How to enhance your presentation skills by means of visual aids 
  • How to have good posture that exudes confidence and maintain good eye contact
  • How to cultivate proper body language and use mannerisms that will not distract your audience but rather engage them

What Is Public Speaking Like In College?

The public speaking experience will vary from student to student because each student has their own unique personality, strengths, and weaknesses. However, if you have an open mind and are willing to learn new things that may be a challenge, then you may actually enjoy it. Growth is a part of the college experience so why not take advantage of it. It will change the way you communicate in your personal life as well as increase your employment opportunities in the future.

While in class you will have supportive professors who will offer constructive criticism. Do not be offended. Remember your professors have many years of experience. Take what they say to heart, and you'll see the magnitude of your public speaking skill improve to an uncharted level or at least to the point where you feel confident voicing your opinion. 

Being a good public speaker also involves you being a good listener. You will also be able to observe and listen to your fellow classmates. You see firsthand what works, what needs improvement, and you can offer your insight to help them improve as well. Since each student is different, they will have their own unique speaking style. You can see what stands out to you and maybe incorporate those aspects into your personal speaking style. 

At the beginning of your public speaking class, you might be a little nervous. It may be a little difficult for you to get into the swing of things, but once you do, you will really soar. All your fears and reservations will melt away.

8 Tips To Help Make Public Speaking Classes Easier

  • Remember that everyone makes mistakes 
  • Go in open-minded with a positive attitude. This will leave the door open for optimism and who knows, you might actually enjoy the class 
  • Try not to care about what other people think. Unfortunately, you cannot control their thoughts but thankfully, you can control your own. Focus on what you want to say and the way you want to deliver it and things will go more smoothly than anticipated
  • Many of the students in your class are all just as nervous as you are, and hate being embarrassed as well. This being the case, if you support them and offer constructive feedback, then they will do the same for you 
  • Prepare ahead of time and really know your content
  • Practice and then practice some more
  • If you make a mistake, pause, reclaim your thoughts and continue 
  • Control the pace of your speech. When nervous, it is natural to talk faster but remember you want to talk slowly and clearly. If you speak too fast your audience may miss out on your message 


At first, public speaking may seem very difficult and intimidating. However, if you just give it a little time you will see that you can do it! The class will teach you how to overcome your public speaking fears. Wouldn’t that be great? To overcome a fear that you’ve had since childhood. That would be a spectacular accomplishment! 

Becoming a good public speaker is like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. At first, the process is awkward, a little uncomfortable, and maybe not the prettiest thing to watch. However, once it breaks free it’s beautiful and incredible! 

The same is true with public speaking. At first, the process is awkward, a little uncomfortable, and maybe not the prettiest thing to watch. However, once you break free you will incredible. Your audience will not be able to stop themselves from looking at you and listening to your every word. So, try taking a public speaking class and you will grow as you go! 

For more resources to develop your public speaking skills while you are in the comforts of your own home, please check out the article ‘Online Resources for Public Speaking‘. If you would like to leverage the best presentation software for your next big speaking engagement please read the article 'Best Presentation Technology tools'.


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Posted in  Public Speaking Topics   on  January 18, 2022 by  Dan W ,   Is Public Speaking Hard In College? [The Truth Exposed]

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