Take your time and plan
The first thing to do when starting your application is to decide when you’re going to work on it, for how long and which part of the application you’ll be working on. It’s a good idea to keep the UCAS deadline in mind so that you know how long you have for each section and can allow enough time so that you don’t feel rushed.
For example, in my plan I started by dedicating the first day to finding universities which offered courses related to the subject I was interested in. To begin with, I just made a note of the course titles and universities. I then assigned myself days within my plan where I would go back and spend more time looking further into a specific course modules and facilities. Then the next day, I’d look at another course in the same level of detail. I found that when I structured my time, it meant I was more productive as I had set tasks to accomplish. Doing a little bit each day and seeing it in a plan made it feel like a smaller task and was more manageable than doing it all in one go.
One thing I would say is to make sure you keep notes as you go along, so that you can remember which ones you liked and reasons for this. I found these notes really helpful to refer back to in the decision-making process. When working on the application, don’t forget to schedule in breaks. I find that just stretching my legs, making a cup of tea and taking regular screen breaks can be huge stress relievers. They also help you feel more motivated to be productive and continue with the application.
You are not alone
Asking for help can be very useful during this process. Ask your teachers, friends or parents for help if you ever feel overwhelmed by certain elements of the process. It’s also important to remember that the universities are always there to provide support and advice, if you need it. When I was applying, I was unsure whether university was the right path for me, so I rang the lecturers and spoke to them about the course I was interested in. This really helped to ease my mind and now I study that course at Beckett and love it! As well as speaking to staff at Leeds Beckett you can speak to students and read all about their experiences in their blogs and vlogs. If you find a course that you like the sound of but don’t think you’ll have enough UCAS points to get onto it, it’s always worth giving the university a call to talk to admissions. The university will be able to provide further advice and let you know about the options you have available.
Find what works for you
There are many ways that people prefer to work in order to stay calm and stress free. Personally, I liked to listen to music as I worked on my application and I switched between classical and music from around the world. Having it on in the background relaxed me, but also kept me focused. I found that choosing music without lyrics helped me to concentrate on my writing, so this tactic really helped me.
My final piece of advice is don’t work on your application in your bedroom if you can help it. Your room should be a place where you can relax and so by working in there too, you create an association between stressful work and your personal space which will make it harder for you to relax. I recommend working in a library or another room in your house so that you still have a separate space to relax, after your work on the application is complete. Personally, I found working in a coffee shop was beneficial for me as there was enough background noise to calm me without it being overwhelming. Separating spaces and making sure you have a place to relax is extremely important for your mental health.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you feel more relaxed as you go through the application process. Now it’s time to get researching, writing and put them to practice.