What advice would you give your 18-year-old self? Three hundred thousand A-level students pick up their results this morning, grades that will, for some, shape the rest of their lives. Millions of relatives and friends wait on a phone call.
Receiving a U for my efforts on Chaucer and William Blake was a blow, I recall, particularly as I had so enjoyed the former’s swearing and the latter’s determination to outrage orthodoxy.
Here’s a news flash, though, for anyone disappointed by their results today: when we recruit people – and this is true of many employers – we are far more interested in what candidates have done after their A-levels. Whether they have studied again, where they have worked, what they enjoy in their spare time.. Do they seem friendly, creative, level-headed, a team player, enthusiastic? It’s difficult to stick a grade on any of that.
None of this diminishes the work that goes into A-levels and the mass achievement that will be celebrated today. Just to say that if it isn’t what you hoped for, don’t sweat.
Entering Clearing? Don’t panic, it won’t all finish in the first half-an-hour. Remember that a record 57,000 students were accepted through this route last year. Quickly research courses online before calling, have your personal statement in front of you as a prompt, don’t feel obliged to accept the first offer – and it’s probably best not to ask for “whatever’s going”, as someone I know once did.
Whatever today brings you, we at i raise a glass and toast your future.