University waiting

If you’re hoping to start at university this year, then your UCAS application will have been (or will be close to being) submitted by now.

First things first – congratulations! I know first hand how stressful it can be – choosing what degree you’re interested, comparing courses, and crafting an original personal statement. The hard part is (almost) over… now all that’s left is to get your head down and actually get the grades!

As someone who’s been through this all before – and lived – I know that waiting to get your offers back can be an incredibly stressful time. Universities have until Wednesday 6th May to decide whether to make you an offer or not, so you might have another four months to wait  – but hopefully they’ll get back to you faster. 

So – what’s the best way to use this time, and not spend too long stressing? Here’s my advice:

Study!

I know, I know, A levels/IB/final exams are stressful and can get boring if you’re ready to move on to higher level stuff. But trust me on this – just because you’ve submitted your application and have started to get offers, you shouldn’t really slack off too much. You’ll be kicking yourself if you get an offer from your top university and just miss out on getting the grades.

SOAS can be quite flexible with its offers, but it’s still best to get your head down and do the work now – it’s only for six months, after all!

Despite this, remember that your grades don’t define you. I’ve been in uni for three years now, and not a single person has asked me what I got at A level. Not one. Just work hard and do your best now and it’ll all work out. What are you waiting for? Stick on your lo-fi beats and get studying!

Try not to stress

Waiting for your offers can seem endless, especially if your friends have their offers rolling in and you still haven’t heard a peep.

Remember that these nerves won’t last forever, and you’ll get an offer from a university soon. Take time to relax – I personally find just going outside for a quick walk boosts my mood hugely.

Open up to your friends – I guarantee most of them are feeling the same way.

Looking after your mental health at this kind of stressful time is so important, so please try to build some good coping mechanisms like meditation or breathing techniques. 

Research your university choices

Now is a great time to really consider which university you want to go to, so when your offers arrive you know which one to choose.

I used The Student Room a lot to ask questions to current students, and get honest answers about what universities are like.

If you can, try to go on some campus tours to get a sense of what it actually feels to be at that uni – SOAS offers tours every Wednesday and Friday at 2pm, so come and have a look round!

If you want an idea of the true student experience, queue up for some free Hare Krishna curry and have a picnic on the Green!

I would also recommend having a look at course modules. Many uni courses have the same title but their actual content can differ dramatically. Check out the modules (under the ‘Structure’ tab on SOAS course webpages) and maybe try doing one of the readings from a module to get an idea of if the course suits you.

I’d also recommend following your university choices on Instagram to get an idea of daily life there – find us at @soasuni.

I hope these tips have been helpful for you at this stressful time, and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that you all get the offers you’re hoping for!

  • Elizabeth Frost is a SOAS Digital Ambassador and undergraduate student, currently completing the BA International Relations and Chinese.
  • The official UCAS deadline is tonight (15 Jan 2020) at 6pm (UK time), but please note that SOAS will accept late submissions.
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