New figures published by Endsleigh, which has been insuring students, graduates and young professionals since 1965, reveal that for almost 90% of students, achieving academic success is their biggest worry.
Endsleigh’s 2014 Student Survey found that when it comes to stress, almost nine out of every 10 students place graduating with a respectable grade above other life concerns – including personal, family or relationship problems and earning money.
The survey of 2,128 students, conducted by NUS Services on behalf of Endsleigh, asked students to rank their fears out of 10. It found that keeping up with exams and academic deadlines (89%), applying for jobs (78%) and managing their money (69%) were the students’ top three concerns – with their mental health and wellbeing (60%) and their physical health and fitness (62%) following closely.
Making Friends a Concern…
The results suggest that while students are enthusiastic about settling into their new lives away from home, with only 20% counting homesickness as a concern, many are also anxious about juggling the fresh set of responsibilities. In addition to keeping up with their studies and on top of their finances, 52% of students said making friends was a concern.
Women were, in general, more likely to suffer greater anxiety than their male counterparts with the results showing that female students were, on average, 8% more concerned about achieving academic success; 7% more concerned about applying for jobs and 14% more concerned about exams and academic deadlines.
When it comes to dealing with stress, the study revealed that women were around 10% more likely than men to talk about their worries with their family or with their friends or a partner (69% compared to 57% and 83% compared to 72%, respectively), while male respondents were 10% more likely to relieve anxiety by hitting the gym and exercising (60% compared to 50%, respectively).
Retail Therapy and Playing Computer Games…
While the survey found that 41% of students said they would consider visiting their university counselling services, over a third (35%) of women said retail therapy was one of the ways they chose to tackle stress – while a similar proportion of men (37%) said playing computer games helped them to relax.
Students looking for tips and advice on how to manage stress whilst at university can visit the Hub – Endsleigh’s go-to guide for preparing, studying and leaving university, written by students, graduates and industry experts.
Kim McGuinness, Education Sector Manager, Endsleigh, said: “The stereotypical picture of the carefree student appears to be long gone, given the pressures modern-day undergraduates face and feel. As the figures show, students are incredibly conscientious when it comes to performing well academically – whilst at the same time getting to grips with the new responsibilities that come with moving away from home and making a whole new set of friends, for example. This is not to mention the worry many face when it comes to thinking about life after graduation and, in particular, given the competitive market, securing a job in the career of their choice.
“These are real issues that students face and it is of vital importance that they are not only brought to light but talked about and, where necessary, addressed. Knowing where to go to get the right advice when suffering from anxiety can be life-changing for those students who have, until now, felt they were alone in what they were going through.”
Melanie Withers, Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Director of Counselling at the University of Sussex, said:“An increasing percentage of students are seeking help through their college or university counselling service every year. Student life can be stressful, and students may feel under a lot of pressure at times, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and that there are services on hand to support you when things are difficult.
“Almost all universities and about 75% of further education colleges offer counselling to their students. This service is provided free and the waiting times are considerably shorter than if you were to access therapy through your GP.”