I remember when I was waiting for my A Level results a couple of years ago like it was yesterday. It was nerve wrecking, overwhelming and exciting, to say the least. I couldn’t sleep properly the night before and I was too scared to check UCAS Track on Results Day morning, so I waited until I went into college to pick up my exam results. I had worked so hard and knew that I couldn’t have possibly done anything more, but I still panicked. I needed to achieve AAB to get into my first choice of university and I did. But I just wanted to double check (by checking UCAS Track) and triple check (by then calling the Confirmation helpline at the university). Getting through Results Day and the whole process of getting into university is probably one of the first major adult situations that you will encounter in life, but it isn’t as bad as it seems at the time!
To every Sixth Form or College Student out there getting nervous about tomorrow, I want you to know that no matter what happens, it will not break you. You will be okay and you can go on to be successful, no matter what you do and what route you take, as long as you put the effort in.
So, here are some of my top tips and advice for coping with Results Day:
To students who have achieved their place at university and are happy with this
Well done you! Your hard work has paid off and you really should enjoy these satisfying moments before the hard work starts at university. Make the most of the rest of your summer, but in the next few weeks consider what you might need when you first start university. Most university courses start in mid-late September (just a few weeks away!) so perhaps see if there are any resources or reading lists which require you to do a bit of work before you actually start your academic timetable. You can usually check these details on your student intranet or welcome emails, which universities are likely to send in the next few weeks. If you are moving into accommodation, perhaps look into what is already provided for you and what you may need to bring with you (kitchen utensils, bedding, homeware etc.) Finally, keep an eye out for information about Welcome Week, Freshers Fair and moving in events. Universities typically put a range of activities and events on for their new students. You really want to plan ahead and make the most of this, because it will give you the chance to settle into university life, meet lots of new people and make new friends, when everybody is in the same boat! But for now, enjoy this moment and celebrate!
To students who didn’t secure a place at university, but want to go to university this year
I can imagine how disappointed you might feel right now, but I would encourage you to act now and think later. By this I mean that if you want to go to university this year, you need to start considering your options and what you are going to do next. I would urge you to speak to your family, friends, college tutors – the people who know you best and have your best interests at heart. Perhaps have a look on the UCAS website at other universities that you are interested in/would now consider. Educate yourself about Clearing via the UCAS website. To give you a quick overview: Clearing provides the opportunity for students who don’t have a place at the choices that they originally applied to to secure a place elsewhere. The process involves the student independently calling universities and enquiring about courses and seeing what courses are available in Clearing. Universities will take Clearing applications and will want to know about your qualifications and the grades that you have achieved from Level 2 (GCSE or equivalent) and Level 3 (A Level, BTEC, Access, etc.) so make sure that you have your certificates to hand when you make the call. Consider your options carefully and make sure that you are making the right decision for you, because three years is a long time to spend if it isn’t the right course or university for you.
To the students who just aren’t sure about their next step right now
Don’t worry, you are young and you have plenty of time to decide on your next step! Sometimes you just need a little more time to figure it out. Many students who are unsure about university opt to take a gap year, undertake employment, get some work experience or even travel. As long as you have good reasoning behind it and can demonstrate how the gap year experience has benefitted you, universities will be happy to take you next year and you will be able to apply for 2019 entry via UCAS once Clearing is over. If you have already gained your place at university, but would like to start next year instead, you could perhaps contact your university and ask whether you could defer your entry to the next academic year. You can find out more about deferring entry on the UCAS website.
To the students who have gained a place but want to change to a different university
You don’t necessarily have to stick with a university because it was your original choice. Sometimes circumstances change, you may simply have had a change of heart or you may have even performed better than you expected in your results. Clearing isn’t just a process for unplaced students who want to go to university, Clearing can be an opportunity for students who already have a place at university to shop around, change their mind or even upgrade their choice. You too can call universities and see if you can bag yourself a better option. Whatever you do, don’t rush into it and make sure that you have a confirmed offer at your new choice before asking your original choice to release you, because once you have been released, you have lost the secured place at your original option.
I hope that this was helpful, however I really would urge you to do as much research as you can and speak to as many people as you can. Results Day can be such a strange and stressful time, so make sure that you make informed decisions, consider what is best for you and don’t rush into anything.
Please see below for some useful websites:
Also speak to your School and College tutors and careers staff.
I wish you lots of luck!
P.S Let me know how you get on?
Did you get the place you wanted?
*This post is intended to give useful tips and advice to students on A Level Results Day, however the information shared is from my own experience and knowledge and it may not be suitable for all students as each person has their own individual set of circumstances. Please seek impartial help and advice that is relevant to you.