You may have seen my previous post ‘A Short Guide to Results Day and Clearing (a Video Blog)‘. This post is a second part to it, though it is not a video blog this time. Today, I thought I would give further education (examples: A Level, BTEC, Scottish Higher) students some advice on what they could do when they receive their results. The routes are organised into specific categories:
Results better than expected/ wanted/ needed
- Adjustment (University). If you are already planning to go to University, and you receive results that are better than you expected (well done!), you will highly likely (unless something went wrong) receive an unconditional offer from your first choice University. This means you will be able to attend it in the new academic year. If you want to though, you can look at Adjustment. Adjustment is the process provided by UCAS, through which students who achieve better results than expected can keep their unconditional offer, but also have a look at other courses or Universities they may want to attend instead.
If you find a course or a University that you are interested in, then like Clearing, you ring the University in the hopes that you could obtain a verbal offer. If you receive any verbal offers, you may want to consider your decision carefully, and if you want to change your chosen University or course, you request to be released from your unconditional offer (you should be able to do this, check UCAS), and select the course and University who gave you a new verbal offer.
If you decide that you do not want to change University or course, then everything is okay, as you still have your original unconditional offer.
Good luck at University!
Results as expected/ wanted/ needed
Well done! You can do anything listed under ‘Any of the above outcomes’.
Results lower than expected/ wanted/ needed
Ah, I understand this situation. I hope you know that as long as you tried your best that is all that matters, and you can still be successful after this. It is okay to cry (remember to bring tissues with you on Results Day, and also somebody supportive if you want to), but let me just repeat a part of my last clause, to make sure you read it: you can still be successful. So what can you do?
- Re-sit. This probably sounds like a horrible idea, but if you are so disappointed with your results, or your teachers or family members advise you to, you may want to consider re-sitting. There is no shame in re-sitting, as long as you try to learn where you went wrong (ask your college or sixth form whether they can request your paper/s back on your behalf for you to learn from your mistakes – you, or the school, will have to pay for these though), and try your best in the next academic year. Trying your best does not mean overworking though, as I overworked in my last year of A Level and that had a negative effect on me and, I believe, my results. If you are worried about your employability prospects, as I was when I received my results, talk to a careers advisor (or a teacher/ family member/ friend who understands this area).
- Ask for a re-mark. If your result is close to the next grade boundary, you may want to think about getting a re-mark of your paper/s. If you do get a re-mark, your result may go up, stay the same, or even go down afterwards. It can be a difficult decision, and you or your school will have to pay for the re-mark, so talk about this option with your teachers (and your family too if you want).
Any of the above outcomes
No matter what happens, you can do any of the below:
- Gap year. You might have already planned to do this, but if you feel too overwhelmed and do not know whether you want to go to University or get a steady job, you may want to consider taking a gap year. A gap year is a perfect opportunity to travel, to build up work experience, and to work out what path you want to take (though you can always follow a different path later in life, you are never resigned to one path). Just remember you want to be able to tell future employers what you did (productively) in your gap year, if you choose to take one.
- Clearing (University). I went through this route, so I just want to re-assure you that by no means are you a ‘failure’ if you go to University via this method. I say a bit more about it in the video blog I mentioned at the beginning of this post, but basically Clearing is where you can find courses with vacancies at Universities across the country. The major difference, from applying to University earlier in the year, is that you must receive a verbal offer/ offers first, and then only select one course when you login to UCAS. When your choice is confirmed, you can get ready for University!
- Job/ Apprenticeship. You might already have something lined up, or you might just decide after getting your results that you would like to find a job or an apprenticeship. Try not to worry too much if you think you are too late for an application – have a look on websites and in newspaper listings as soon as you can, if not straight away, with an idea of what sort of area you would like to work in/ what would be helpful to your career goals. If there is a careers advisor at your college or sixth form, it might be a good idea to talk to them – they should be able to help you efficiently. Make sure your CV is up-to-date, and good luck!
- Celebrate. After you leave your sixth form or college, you students who received the results they wanted, or who received results that exceeded your expectations, might start thinking about where and how you are going to celebrate. If your results were lower than expected/ wanted, you might just want to go home and think about your options, or let yourself feel upset for a bit, but it might be good to go out and ‘celebrate’ with your family or friends. You probably think I mean that sarcastically, but I do not mean it so. My parents took me out for a meal to celebrate, because even though I was upset with my results, and they were upset for me, they were still proud of me (we had a meal when I received my GCSE results too, and they were higher than I had expected). Getting through further education is a major accomplishment, so well done (even if you do not believe it now)!
You may feel surprised at the number of options listed under ‘Any of the above outcomes’, and that is because I do not want to suggest a certain route for a student to follow. For instance, those who achieve highly may not want to go to University (even if they showed a prior interest, or are expected to by others), and those who do not achieve as well as they wanted to can go to University if they so wish (dependent upon the entry requirements of the university/ universities they are interested in attending). I want students to realise that there are so many options open to them.
If you are a student, or a parent/ carer of a student, expecting their results, please feel free to share this post with other students. You may also want to make notes if you want to discuss the options with your family, your teachers or even your friends (I might have missed some options, but these are the ones I know of – please tell me if I am missing anything. A different website might take a different approach, and it is never bad to investigate other websites with something so important as results advice, as long as they are impartial).
Let me know if this post is helpful – I would love to hear from you. If you’re reading this before Results Day on Thursday 13th August in the UK, good luck!