Between now and mid-January thousands of students are wading their way through the UCAS application process to get placed at a university of their choice. In theory, this should be an exciting time. A chance to consider what you want to study, what your career might look like and even where you’ll live for the next few years.
For many though, this excitement comes with a big side of stress. Choosing a university, choosing a course, a new city to live in is daunting as it is; add a long-winded application process and it’s no wonder people find the process stressful.
Last year Tutorful carried out a survey with sixth form and college students to see how they found the application process. Their results showed 80% of survey respondents found the process difficult, stressful and caused a ‘significant’ amount of anxiety.
To help students manage the process, Tutorful published a University Applications Guide (in collaboration with The Mental Health Foundation).
If you’re feeling the strain, know that you’re not alone. Here are a few tips to help you manage stress during the application process.
Write a list
This may just be us, but we feel a lot calmer when we have a to-do list written up. Take a look at what it is you need to do, write this up in a list and try to plan when you’ll do it.
Manage your time
Deadlines for UCAS application vary, so make sure you know when yours is due. As tempting as it may be to leave the paperwork bit until the last minute, this will only add to your stress. Give yourself plenty of time so you can stay calmer throughout the process.
Talk it out
If you start feeling a little lost or overwhelmed, don’t bottle it up. Talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling. Often a good chat about something offers us clarity and lightens the load.
Look after yourself
When we’re stressed, self-care can go out the window. Try to schedule in down-time, ensure you’re eating enough and are getting enough sleep.
Given the nature of UCAS application, your thoughts may well be racing. You’re probably living in the future, thinking about if you’ll get in to university, what your course will be like and how your future will look in general. Of course it is important to give these things thought, but it’s also important to not get consumed by it.
Mindfulness is a great tool to help you stay grounded in the present moment and calm those racing thoughts. Even if it’s just five minutes a day, try and take a moment to breathe deeply and focus on your physical sensations. Imagine your thoughts as floating leaves on a river and observe them without judgement.