Easier said than done, but this is an important decision that must be considered carefully. Whatever your situation, you have options.
Talk to a trained careers adviser. It's also a good idea to talk to your teachers, contact universities directly, discuss your options with your family and friends, and talk to anyone studying a programme you're considering. Get as much information as you can.
Look at other courses that might suit you, whether that's a slightly different degree subject or focus than you'd previously considered, or an entirely different type of programme. Look at different institutions and new regions, too. Make sure you explore these courses and locations in depth. What will you study? What are the employment statistics? Are there opportunities to gain work experience during the course?
Talk to universities about accommodation and other practicalities before you decide to accept an offer through Clearing. Find out what's available and think carefully about whether that suits you. If you possibly can, visit the institution, too. That can really help you decide whether it's right for you. Also, talk to your funding body to arrange a transfer and discuss your changed situation.
Be proud of yourself
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns – and, sometimes, disappointments. How you deal with those speaks volumes. Focus on your strengths, think carefully about how you can make the most of your situation, and move forward with positivity and pride.
Of course, results day can bring another type of surprise – that of better-than-expected grades. For students in England starting the majority of courses, by not only meeting but also exceeding your conditional offer, Adjustment could provide an opportunity to reconsider your options.
If you decide to register for Adjustment on the Track Choices page, your previous offer will be put on hold for five days while you shop around for alternative vacancies. Adjustment places aren't listed though, so that will involve phoning around. If you find a course you prefer in that time, you can swap. Otherwise, you will retain your previous offer.
Bear in mind that there's no need to change at all though. Sometimes, your first choice is the right choice.