As A Level Results Day fast approaches, student (and parent) anxiety levels are starting to creep upwards again! Whilst Universities may make a greater number of reduced offers this year due to the downturn in applications, there will still be students who feel disappointed with their results or may need to reconsider their plans. For those families, here’s our advice on how you can ease the trauma of Results Day and some of the main options available to students who miss their grades.
Have a Plan B!
Even for students who feel fairly confident, researching possible Plan B options prior to results day makes sense and may help students feel less anxious in the run up to the 16th August. Your main options are:
- Enter Clearing as your grades may be acceptable to other universities
- Retake your A-levels and reapply for entry to University in 2019
- Adopt a different strategy to your preferred career – forget uni for the moment and either get a job, take a vocational course at college or do an traineeship/apprenticeship.
- researching universities and courses that might be of interest
- thinking about the reasons you made your original 5 choices and what was most important to you then (eg campus type, accommodation options, location, course content)
- checking out current clearing vacancies on the UCAS website from the 5th July. Universities also start to publish Clearing lists on their own websites from early August.
Reapply & Retake
For those students who think their grades may be much lower than hoped, there are still lots of interesting opportunities eg taking a gap year in order to reapply and retake exams. This is a very common route adopted by students, many of whom combine study with travel/work abroad and/or relevant work experience. If you are considering retakes, its worth checking out entrance requirements as some Universities/courses require students to achieve the grades in one sitting, meaning that you might have to retake all your A Levels rather than just the one where you dropped the grades.
Prep Before Results Day
Just knowing what is going to happen on results day will make the day less stressful:
- UCAS updates Track about 8am on Results Day but universities may take longer to make decisions so you could consider phoning them if there is nothing on Track
- Once Track is updated, you will be able to see the status of your University offers or, if you have missed your grades, your Clearing Details. Depending on your grades/offers, Universities will sometimes offer students an alternative course so it’s worth calling them even if track shows you are in Clearing.
- Even if you get your preferred University place, you’ll still need to pick up your results from school on the day or have made other arrangements with school in advance
- It’s also worth re-reading your personal statement in case you need to discuss anything you mentioned in it.
The Student Room have a great article with detailed advice for A Level results day and also let you sign up for alerts about university clearing and adjustment places.
On Results Day
If Track indicates you are in Clearing, then it’s a good idea to get into school early so that you have plenty of time to talk to teachers about your results and options.
- If you have just missed your predicted grades, ask your school about appealing and whether it’s worth asking your firm choice to reconsider if they haven’t accepted you.
- Your best bet for up-to-the-minute vacancies is the UCAS website as it’s always up to date.
- You might also want to pick up a copy of The Telegraph on results morning. This features listings of all the courses in Clearing at the start of the day, so it’s a decent starting point. Just beware that this listing goes out-of-date very quickly, so it’s worth checking UCAS before calling.
So good luck for 16th August!
We wish you all the best and don’t forget every cloud has a silver lining!