It is about a month to go till A Level results day!
This day can bring about a range of different emotions, with friends getting into their dream universities or apprenticeships, and some friends hitting their targets or achieving even more than their targets. The difficult part comes when your results do not go exactly to plan, and you end up missing out on a grade or two. This can result in you missing out on your place at university. However, there are a few different things you can do if you fall into this position, and remember it is not the end of the world!
Research your options
The first thing you need to do is to research your options. It may be the case that you decide that university is not for you anymore. Look into your apprenticeship options or even your traveling options.
A gap year might be something to look into and then try again for university the year after. You may be able to save a place for the year after through clearing. What’s great about a gap year is that it doesn’t necessarily mean you are traveling for the whole year or even traveling full stop. You can use some of this time to work and earn some money. This well earned money will be of huge help when you eventually do decide what the next chapter is for you.
As mentioned, apprenticeships might be an option for you. Many companies these days offer degree apprenticeships where you can get the best of both worlds. Earn money, gain experience but also come out after three years with a degree. Of course, you don’t gain the university experience but that so-called university experience may not be for everyone. So do consider your options and apply time to research them to cement your decision.
Look into clearing
Clearing is a great option you might want to look into if you miss out on your grades and your original place. Lots of people use clearing on results day and the truth is, lots of universities have many spaces available through clearing. This works in your favour because all universities are looking to fill up their spaces available where people have dropped out or did not get the grades they wanted.
The best route to take if you are going to look into clearing is to speak to your school careers advisor who should be able to help you with some numbers you can use to call up clearing at your chosen universities. However do enter clearing with some caution, you must be willing to compromise. Often with clearing you will be able to enroll with a university on a specific course, although the course at your clearing university may be slightly different to what you had seen yourself in had the your first choice university.
For example, if you selected a course with a placement year involved, the course you have been offered through clearing may be without a placement year. However, the majority of the time once you are at university, within the first few weeks you can just be moved onto the placement route with no trouble. Therefore, clearing is a great avenue to explore if you have slightly missed your grades or you may have over achieved and can use clearing to get into a better ranked university.
Have back up universities
Look into a few other universities that match your needs and wants, research the course and what the universities offer. Make sure to look into things like the average accommodation price and where abouts the campus is based in comparison with the town center and the student halls. This can hugely help if you need to look into the clearing avenue. It means you head into clearing with a strong idea of what you want and what you can get from other universities. When considering your backup universities it is also a good idea to actually go and see these universities. This can be a massive insight when you possibly need to consider other universities because then you have an idea of what they are actually like as opposed to just seeing them on the internet, which lets be honest is not an exact representation.
Take into consideration your accommodation
If you have already paid a deposit on your accommodation for your first choice university, then make sure you remember to cancel this if you move to a different university.
The first thing you need to do is check if you can get onto your course or a similar course through clearing meaning you can keep your accommodation. If you want to move to university or take a gap year then ring up ASAP to get your deposit back!
Speak to friends
Speak to your friends as there will be lots of people in a similar situation to you and see what their plans are. Talk about clearing and see what type of experiences people had. You can even check out social media to see if anyone has managed to get onto their original course through clearing which often happens!
Alternatively, see if anyone has decided to take a gap year as this might be something you want to do aswell.
Not getting your ideal results can sometimes be a blessing in disguise you just don’t know it yet! So try not to be too disheartened if this happens. Exam results do not define you as a person and they are not a representation of how much you know or what you can achieve.
There are lots of different routes you can take if you still want to stick with your original plans at your first choice university. It might be an option to take on a slightly different course and work on this for a year before moving to the course you wanted. This would act like a foundation year and plenty of students take this route!