Ok, so you’ve completed the difficult bit. Hours spent revising for those all-important exams have ticked quietly by, and fresh after a summer of making memories and a well-deserved bit of downtime, you are now eagerly awaiting your results.
How are you feeling? Do you feel confident in your results, certain that you were well-prepared and answered each question to the best of your ability? Perhaps you’re feeling slightly concerned, stressing out about the fact that you could have done just that little bit more…
Whatever the situation, don’t panic! Although results day can understandably bring concerns to the student, what you need to understand is that, whatever the outcome, there are several ways of getting into a good university.
Below is a breakdown of everything you need to know before opening the exciting (and potentially life-changing) big, brown envelope containing your results.
The Situation: The day is here, and you’ve opened your results. They’re not the grades that you were hoping for, and consequently, your conditional offer has been rescinded. You still want to study this subject (or similar) in higher education, yet now you’re considering a different university.
First things first, DO NOT PANIC! You are most certainly not alone, with a record number of students going through clearing in 2017. The best way to approach the situation is calmly; take this opportunity to reassess where you might be happy studying, and whether or not slight variations to your chosen course would be acceptable.
After a bit of deep breathing, get on the phone to UCAS. They will help you find a university that is willing to accept you through the spaces on their courses that have not been filled. Remember that universities want students, and now that you have your confirmed results, the chances are that you will be accepted straight away. ? ?
Remember to be direct with the staff at UCAS – if you are unhappy with their suggested alternatives, don’t feel pressured to sign on for a course that ultimately you are not going to enjoy completing. University is a really big choice in your life, and at the end of it, you are going to have a degree in that specialist subject. If you have aspirations of being a lawyer, you certainly do not want to find yourself studying the Art of Yodelling for three years – yes, believe it or not, this is a genuine degree.
The Situation: Well blow me down – you’ve not only achieved your expected grades but absolutely smashed them! This means that you might be considering an adjustment course (a course that has a higher grade boundary than your current choice).
After months of holding your breath, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Not only have you bagged the grades needed to secure your place on your own course, but you can now look at other universities, to see if there are any places available on more sought after courses. Yippee!!
Adjustment is available from A-Level Results Day (16th August 2018) right up until the end of the month, giving you just a little bit more time to make a conscious, informed decision. So take advantage of those around you – talk to your teacher, your schools careers adviser or even your family. Have a good look on UCAS Track at what places are available and if you make the decision to switch, register for adjustment through your portal.
Alternatively, give the university a ring. For one reason or another, sometimes course vacancies may not be advertised on UCAS. If you know that there is a specific course that you have spent your summer wishing that you had applied for, then contact the university directly – there might have been a student who did not achieve the conditional grades, or even a student that is going through the same process as you.
You can only accept one adjustment offer, so if you accept an offer over the phone to your new university, make sure that it is the course you definitely want to do. The university will then update your Track screen on UCAS, and hey presto, get packing your bags!
We spoke to an adviser from UCAS to find out some top tips:
- Have your reference number ready – Before you get in touch with UCAS, it is crucial that you have your reference number to hand. The amount of students who wait in line to speak with one of our advisers is already extremely high, and without your reference number, we cannot offer any specific advice. Speed up the process and help us help you.
- Preparation is key – You’ve heard your teacher saying this one before, “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail”. Although your eyes may be rolling whilst reading this, it does hold some importance in this context. Even if you have been completely confident that you were going to achieve the desired results, sometimes in life, this simply just doesn’t happen.
Take some time to write out a list of ‘secondary’ options; courses that seem interesting, universities that you like the sound of…this will make the process a lot smoother when you contact the team to see what alternative courses there are.
- Contact the University Directly – Whether you are looking for a position through clearing or adjustment, the same processes that you took at the start of applying still need to be undertaken. Before making any hasty decisions, why not organise a tour of the university? Although the course sounds tempting, you might not like the facilities that are on offer. Take a trip and have a look around – most universities are more than happy to accommodate private tours, and whilst we’re on that point…
- Make sure it is yourself that contacts the university – If you want to confirm a position at the university, it is you and only you who can officially do this. No one can sign up for a course on your behalf, so set the nerves aside, write out what exactly it is that you want and pick up the phone. It also shows a lot about what sort of person you are if you have the confidence to ring and speak to one of the course tutors yourself.
- Be in the country – Now, although this tip seems fairly obvious, each year there are hundreds of students who try to organise an incredibly important part of their lives from abroad. Although it is possible, it is so much harder to do when you have minimal access to the internet, teachers and universities.
- Be positive! – Generally speaking, clearing might not sound like the most attractive pathway to university; at the end of the day, you have just missed out on your first choice. However, fear not! Most of the universities in the top 20 of the UCAS league table have places available through this process. Who knows, you could find yourself at a better university than your first choice.
Don’t Forget About Student Accommodation!
Although you might have set your heart on a particular house at your first choice of university, if you are no longer studying there, you will need to set about finding a new place to live. A common misconception is that all of the nicest accommodations will have already been taken, which, fortunately, is rarely the case.
Many students will be in the same boat as you, meaning that places in beautiful student halls, apartments or houses will also become free. For example, the University of Reading is notorious for its fantastic wealth of clearance positions. Situated within walking distance of both campuses is the ultimate student living experience – CityBlock Reading!
So brace yourself for August 16th, and remember to stay calm – whatever A-level results you achieve, there are several avenues that you can follow to suit your goals. Good luck!
For further information, check out this complete university guide to UCAS clearing.