The academic world represents challenges and dreams for many Brazilians. Factors such as anxiety and depression, however, can hinder the entry phase, the initial stages and even the completion of academic life. Several studies indicate that depression and anxiety are very common in the university population, suggesting more attention from the academic community and the need for psychological support. The objective of the study is to describe and raise aspects, signs and symptoms that trigger depressive behaviors and anxiety symptoms in university students. The present study is an integrative literature review, descriptive and with a qualitative approach. Publications from the last five years (2015-2019) were selected to cover more current content and discussions. Factors such as relationship difficulties, dissatisfaction with the course and insomnia were the main triggers of anxiety and depressive behaviors in university students. Aspects such as gender, age and socioeconomic situation directly influence the course of these symptoms. In conclusion, symptoms of anxiety and depressive behaviors are expressively frequent in university students, especially students in health courses. There is a lack of studies that seek to propose interventions and long-term monitoring. It is noticed that there is a need for strategies to assist and monitor the university population within the institutions.