Having high standards for yourself is not necessarily problematic in itself, and can be extremely useful, facilitating academic and personal fulfilment. It can promote self-efficacy, enhance our lives, or may have enabled you to come to the University of St Andrews. However, having high standards may cause challenges as they can prevent us from achieving, or even completing goals and academic work. Perfectionism is a result of anxiety and worry about not meeting these high standards, which can lead to avoidance, procrastination and self-criticisms.

Often, students who struggle with perfectionism will think about work and deadlines in unhelpful ways, such as anticipating negative outcomes, disqualifying any past achievements that suggest you can handle this problem and thinking if you don’t know everything that you know nothing. Managing unhelpfully high standards that you have set yourself can help you feel less anxious and adapt to challenges. 

What support do we offer? 

Student Services is here to help you if you are struggling with perfectionism. We run two groups per semester dedicated to help you manage your perfectionism. We can also help you on a one-to-one basis through our Wellbeing, Counselling and Mental Health team. In both group and one-to-one support settings we can help you develop healthy coping strategies to manage your perfectionism. You can also see our latest groups and workshops on our Instagram. You can book an appointment to speak to a member of staff or email for advice. 

Alternative Internal Support

You can access self-help through various University channels such as:

  • ShelfHelp, which provides eBooks or physical copies which can help you understand and manage perfectionism.
  • SilverCloud, which provides various modules to work through at your own pace to help understand and manage the feelings that come with perfectionism using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques.
  • TogetherAll - a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing. (This will be available until February 2023. After this time, we recommend students reach out to SHOUT).

External Support

If you would like to access some self-help materials here are a list of alternative support resources.