What to do once you know your grades

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The Independent Online
TONY HIGGINS, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, has offered the following advice to A-level candidates:

If you have got the required grades for admission, ensure that you accept your place, confirm your grant with your local education authority, secure your accommodation (send forms to your university/college if necessary) and arrange your bank account.

If you have not quite made the grades, check with the university or college if it will admit you nevertheless. If not:

Don't panic - most students with the essential entry qualifications get a place somewhere, albeit not on their first- choice course.

Take advice. Talk to your school or the local careers service (their number is in the telephone book). Options are to contact universities and colleges asking for slightly lower grades or perhaps a different type of course or qualification; resit; take a year out and make a fresh application; abandon thoughts of higher education altogether for a year or so. Make no decisions on your future without taking advice.

Contact universities and colleges yourself. Do not let your parents do it for you. It is you they want to admit, not your parents.

If possible, visit universities and colleges and talk to admissions tutors. That way you (and they) will find out more about each other and probably strike a good deal.

If in doubt, ring UCAS on 0242 227788. Be patient - we may have 4,000 calls a day.