Application anxiety: all you need to know to keep you sane!

With QTAC applications due to open soon for next year, I know there will be many a year twelve student out there in the position I found myself only a few years ago: one of excitement at the prospect of new beginnings but also nervousness at the plethora of opportunity that awaits and the responsibility of making the right decisions to utilise it. As such, I think it is high time for some reminiscing! When it comes to applying for university, there are many options available to consider, in almost any aspect imaginable: from course selection to entry requirements, there is so much information to absorb!

Personally, I found this one of the excitements, as I spent many hours researching what the world of university was all about in anticipation of a new chapter of my life. For any prospective students facing application anxiety out there, this is for those of you who, like me, just want to hear from someone who has been there before.As prospective students, most of you will have questions that will direct and inform your university preferences. These will depend upon your unique circumstances, so that applying becomes a very individual process. For those of you who are lucky and foresighted enough to already have begun university study in high school – you have a head start on making an informed decision. As a country kid and the first in my family to attend university, I needed answers to many more questions before I could make a truly informed decision. For me, it wasn’t attending or my course that was the question – I had to first ensure that my preferred option was viable as it would require me to move away from home. My advice: don’t be afraid to ask for the answers you need, as all universities invest significant resources into ensuring that prospective students have all the information they need to make their informed decision – use them!

Obviously, QUT ended up being my university of choice, but this was merely the destination of the very important journey I had to take to arrive at that decision. I know firsthand that it doesn’t matter how many university fairs or open days you attend, nothing compares with the war stories of those who have gone before. Of course, everyone will forge their own unique path to end up where they want to be. Remember: no one can tell you what you want, and nor should they try. Only you can make the choice as to what is the right fit for you to lead you to what you see yourself becoming. But that’s not to say that the wisdom of those who have been there and done that as well as that of your parents and mentors cannot be of use to ensure your maximum success! Just trust yourself and remember that this is a time for you to seek all the information you need before making an informed decision.

QTAC applications arrive at the busiest time of year 12 – in between the manic assessment items and QCS test preparation, there looms the big question: which university do I want to go to and what will that mean for me? This was the determining factor for my preferences. However, for some the big question is whether you want to attend university at all. For many more, you have yet to decide what it is you eventually want to study. The good news for these questions is that even a vague idea is enough to have you set for a successful application. There is ample room to change your mind between now and when OPs and ranks are released- you will find that the “informed decision” I mentioned above does not need to be finalised until next year just before uni starts! This means that there is lots of free time between now and when you make your final decision as to where your path after school will take you.

A key point to remember is FLEXIBILITY. For anyone who is stressed with their choices now, take comfort in the fact that a) you’re not alone and b) you have plenty of time. As long as you have your application in on time, you are set. There is plenty of room to breathe because you are allowed to change your mind! The important thing is that you keep your options open. The easiest way to do this is to make certain you apply, even if you are only contemplating further education after school. I remember totally unnecessarily stressing that my application didn’t truly reflect my preferences after attaining all the information I needed. The reality was that stress was the opposite to how I should have responded, as I was getting a better idea of what I wanted which would eventually be reflected in my final choice. The moral of the story: don’t take preferences and their order too seriously, as this is one of the many things that can be changed as required.

So for those of you out there experiencing application anxiety, breathe deep and relax. Applying to university does not need to be stressful, as momentous as it seems! After all, wouldn’t that anxiety be better redirected towards the mounds of school-work awaiting your attention? Just remember that your options are open, and a vague idea is enough. Seek out all the information you need, as preferences often involve more considerations than mere course choice. Relax and know that even if you get to uni before you realise your choice isn’t ideal, you still have options. Applying is just one small part of the very important journey to selecting the destination where the next chapter of your educational future will take place – don’t take it too seriously and lose the ride.

2 responses

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  1. Avatar
    gk.moore

    Where are the bloggs from mature-aged students? Some very different challenges for such a group; particularly since that QUT is structured on the basis of a youth culture – otherwise where is the support and opportunities for mature-aged students.

  2. Avatar
    QUT Digital

    Hello GK

    Thanks for your question. You might like to check out Monique’s blogs. Just run through the blog authors on the right-hand menu bar until you find Monique. She’s our mature-age blogger and is certainly sharing her thoughts on the challenges life presents her. If you have a question or want to share a thought, just post a comment on one of her blogs and she’ll be in touch.

    There is lots of support available for all students at QUT, regardless of whether you are straight from school or have taken a break from study. Please visit http://www.student.qut.edu.au/studying/student-life/student-support

    cheers
    The QUT team

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