A level results day: What to do if you don't get the grades - 5 tips

6 Aug 2019 10:45

After two-years' hard work. the day A level students have been most anxious about is just around the corner (Aug 15th) A-level Results Day!

By mid-morning these teens will know their results, and whether they have those all-important grades needed for their planned next steps.

Many universities offer places based on a student's predicted grades, and these predictions are often not accurate. But, it's worth knowing that those young people who don't get their predicted grades can still get into university, if they want to.

In 2018, more than 60,000 students found university places through Clearing - a system which helps universities match students who don't have a university place to courses which still have spaces.

"It's the most important day of the year for ten of thousands of teenagers." Said Dr Lisette Johnston ex-BBC World News Editor and Head of School at ScreenSpace, part of London's MetFilm School.

"If you find yourself going through Clearing you are part of what can feel like a brutal, antiquated system that is engaged in universities bidding for the students who get the highest grades. It doesn't mean these students are the most talented, enthusiastic or passionate... they just have the top marks. It's important that you don't let the system get you down - keep positive and don't let it put you off."

So if you didn't get the grades you were predicted and you're not sure what to do next here's Dr Lisette Johnston top 5 tips.

A-level Results: Top 5 Tips If your results are unexpected.

1. Ready, steady... research.

It's worth spending some time considering and researching a Plan B before you get your results. Have a look for similar courses to your chosen one, which might have lower entry requirements. For example, if you've applied to do Media Studies why not look at courses with Media, such as Content, Media and Film production, or for some courses check the requirements comparing a BA with a BSc - this works with courses such as Economics. If your heart is set on a particular university look at their clearing pages now and register with tem to save time  on the 15th - if you do have to call them during Clearing.

2. Stay calm!

It's the moment you've been working towards and the computer screen or that piece of paper is telling you your dreams are shattered. Remember this is just a blip, a bump in the road! Take some deep breaths, collect your thoughts, and remember there is ALWAYS a different path to take.

3. Talk!

There's lot of help out there. Your initial reaction may be to shut yourself away, don't! Speak to your friends and parents, and don't forget there are experienced staff at your school or college who can help you. They will want to do their best for you and most universities have a well-oiled Clearing process.

4. Be brave.

Pick up the phone and call the universities you are interested in. Ask lots of questions and don't just take the first opportunity that comes along. Make sure it's the right one for you. Write down the questions you want to ask before you call, and if it's a university you haven't visited you may want to find out more about facilities, accommodation and student support. This is your opportunity to discover what is best for you, don't hang up the phone until all your questions are answered.

5. Keep an open mind

If you don't know what to do next then you can always give yourself some time to consider all your options. You could defer going to university until next year, it's only 12 months and it will give you time to decide what you really want to do. You may decide you want to earn some money and get a job, or re-sit your exams, or perhaps consider a different degree or apprenticeship.

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