Before results day
Results day can be chaotic and the better prepared you are the less stressful you will find it. Hopefully you will receive the necessary grades for your firm and/or insurance choice but is definitely worth being prepared and having a plan B just in case. University courses that have spaces available are listed on the UCAS Clearing course search which is already live and will be updated regularly throughout August. Do your research before results day to determine if there are universities and courses you would like to apply for through Clearing if necessary. Remind yourself of what you wrote in your personal statement as universities will be able to see this – is what you wrote still relevant to the courses you are now looking at? If not you need think about why not, as you may be asked by universities to justify any diversions from your original course choice.
Find out what support will be available on results day at your school or at home. For example, is your Chemistry teacher available for you to talk to if you need to discuss courses in Clearing. Or do you have a grandparent whose advice you would like on the day?
Which? has a comprehensive guide entitled ‘A-level results day 2018: what to expect’ on their website which is definitely worth a read before results day.
On results day
Make sure you have your UCAS track login and personal information ready as you may need to provide further information, such as GCSE results, over the phone and having this available in advance will stop time being wasted looking for it.
If you narrowly miss the grades required it is worth checking UCAS track or giving the university a call as you may still be offered a place or they may suggest another course in the same department.
You will be eligible for Clearing if you have not been accepted by your firm or insurance choice and it will show on your UCAS track homepage. If you no longer wish to go to your firm or insurance choice but they have accepted you, you will need to contact them to ask if they will release you into Clearing. The UCAS clearing FAQs provides further information.
It is important that you speak to the university that you want to apply to through Clearing before you apply (via the online system) to ask whether they will accept you. You can contact them as soon as the course appears on the course search. The universities want to make sure that the course you have chosen during Clearing is suitable for you and you may be expected to have a Clearing Call. You can find further advice about what to expect when calling universities here.
Taking a year out
If you cannot find a suitable course through clearing or do not want to rush into making a decision you may want to consider taking a year out. You might be in a stronger position to apply for university on a gap year as you already have confirmation of your grades and universities will give you unconditional offers which you can accept and arrange accommodation etc. well in advance of the course starting. Or if had your heart set on a particular course/university but you missed the grade requirements you could use year out to re-take your exams and re-apply. Do bear in mind that you may not receive the same offers again as they will be assessing your application against a new cohort of students.
Universities will be interested in why you have chosen to take a gap year so you will need to add a sentence or two justifying your choice in your personal statement and be ready to answer questions at interview. Some of the perceived benefits are:
- You can gain work relevant experience which will help your university application and may set you apart from other candidates in the job market after you graduate
- You have the opportunity to earn money and learn to manage it independently before moving away to university
- You have the chance to travel and experience other cultures and learn to cope with being away from home
You need to consider whether taking a year out will suit you and what you have to gain. You may feel frustrated if all of your friends have started at university and your year out is not constructive.
We hope results day goes well for you and if you have any further questions do get in touch.
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