- Self-study – sounds like a nice idea as you picture yourself pouring over the books in a coffee shop with few other cares in the world, but self-study is really only for the super-motivated. You have to be phenomenally committed to focus for a whole year. That year suddenly seems like a very long year indeed once the hullabaloo of results day has calmed down
- Find another college – there are many colleges with specialist one-year A level retake courses. Several of these are in London, but there are more throughout the UK. Do your research and find the one that suits you best
- Retake your A levels
- Get some work experience
- Apply to uni again next year
- Try something other than university – maybe it wasn’t right for you after all
- Travel (STA can help http://www.statravel.co.uk/gap-year-travel.htm as can many other organisations)
- Do paid work
- Volunteer (these people can help http://www.frontier.ac.uk/)
- Build your CV
- Read – don’t underestimate the power and enjoyment of being well-read!
- Get another qualification
- Explore a hobby or talent more fully, you never know where it might take you
Schools, colleges, examiners and examination boards can make mistakes with exam results. Schools and colleges process hundreds of entries, examiners mark thousands of scripts and examination boards process hundreds of thousands of papers every year. The checking systems are good, but there are bound to be mistakes.
- If your grade changes to the one you want, your uni will honour your place, but as time ticks by, clearing options are being taken up by other candidates
- Re-marks can go down as well as up, so its probably only worth it if either you think there has been a really travesty of marking (this happens… although it is rare, for example one year a student had their mark for one essay of 28/30 recorded as 8/30…) or if you are right on the borderline of the upper grade so that it is unlikely your grade will go down
- Grades usually only change by 3 or 4 marks if at all, so if you are right on the borderline, it might be worth it, if not, you might want to consider other options
- You will have to pay for this service
- Collect your results in person from your school or college
- If this it is not possible to collect your results in person, be contactable and in contact with your school or college as early as you can be. If you are overseas, you might need to operate on UK time for a while to ensure you are ahead of the game. Note that you may not be able to receive results by telephone.
- Be prepared and bring with you – your student ID, your passport, your UCAS ID and your UCAS track login details, a charged mobile phone and, if you have one, a device that can connect to the internet
- You may want to have your parents, family or friends around, you may not. Remember that your results are YOUR results, if you choose to share them that is up to you, but if you’d rather be alone, there is nothing wrong with that. You are (probably) an adult now – decide for yourself how you want to do this then call other for advice if you need it
- Arrive early and don’t make any plans for the rest of the day
Adjustment is a relatively new UCAS system that allows you to choose a “better” university if you get better results that you expected in your A levels.
Find out about adjustment from the UCAS website http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/undergraduate/results/better-than-expected and read my advice below:
How does it work?
If you exceed your offer (eg you were offered BBB but you actually get AAA) then you are allowed to speak to universities with higher entry requirements to see if they will take you. They might!
REASONS TO BE CAUTIOUS:
- Is the university you have tried to get into through adjustment really “better” than the one you originally applied to and have been offered a place by? What is your definition of “better?” Remember you chose the university that has offered you a place for good reasons!
- You only get 5 days to use adjustment from when your offer goes from CF to UF. That is 5 periods of 24 hours. Not 5 working days.
- Be careful about making quick decisions – take your time to consider your “new” university. Do your research, visit if you can, think about accommodation for example – accommodation tends to be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. As an adjustment candidate you might find yourself at the back of the queue
REASONS TO GIVE IT A TRY
1. You can’t lose the place you’ve been offered so there is no risk in exploring options
2. Universities have recently been allowed to take effectively an unlimited number of students as long as they can accommodate them and those students meet the minimum entry requirements for the courses they wish to take
Just like if you were using clearing (http://wp.me/s4RGIw-clearing), it is worth remembering the following:
1. Be in the country on results day – if you can’t be in the country, be available on the telephone and remember to operate on UK time
2. Collect your results as early as you possibly can
3. Make sure your phone is charged and you have access to a computer or device that can access the internet
4. Explore your options, then call the universities you want to apply to and BE CALM. Have to hand your UCAS ID and get some “verbal offers”
5. Ask for the name of every person you speak to, especially those who offer you a place, and try to get their direct line and email address
6. Try to confirm everything in writing by email if you can. This may mean that you have to make the first move and write an email to the person you spoke to confirming the details of your conversation
7. If you live near the university you want to go to. Be prepared to go there if necessary
8. If you will need a visa to go to university, have your passport with you on results day
9. Be realistic – you’re unlikely to get into Oxford to study medicine
10. Be efficient and organised because you will have to move swiftly, but don’t panic. You will still have some time to explore options and you should take some time to ensure you are making the right choice.
11. Be prepared to have to answer some “interview” type questions over the phone by re-reading your personal statement
12. Be prepared to have to write another personal statement especially if the courses you apply for through clearing are different to those you applied for originally