A-level results day 2016: What if I don't get the grades I need? How does clearing work? Everything you need to know

Hannah Morrish
Education community manager, The Student Room
Monday 15 August 2016 16:45
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Thousands of students across the UK await their A-Level results this week
Thousands of students across the UK await their A-Level results this week

A-level Results Day - one of the biggest events on the education calendar - is just around the corner. The Student Room team invited students across the country to share their questions and concerns about the day. Hannah Morrish, Results Day and Clearing expert at The Student Room, has replied with her top tips for having a positive Results Day experience, regardless of the grades you receive.

1. “What should I do to prepare for Results Day?”

You may be feeling confident about your results, which is great, but you can take away some of the stress by researching all of your options.

Explore the alternatives like gap years, which universities are in Clearing or apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities, just in case things don’t go the way you want. It’s reassuring to be well-researched, just in case the unexpected happens.

2. “Will my university still accept me if I don’t get my grades?”

On Results Day, if your conditional offer shows on UCAS Track as a rejection, the university will have analysed your results and it’s now very unlikely to accept you.

If you’ve got the grades for your insurance, then you can accept that offer. Or, if you’ve changed your mind about your insurance choice, you can enter Clearing and apply to a different university entirely.

3. “There are so many choices in Clearing, what do I do?”

You need to go into Clearing with an open-mind and be prepared to consider a university you haven’t thought of before. Be flexible with your course choice and look at ones closely related to your original firm choice. You never know - you might even find one you prefer.

Start by looking for the course you would like to study, keeping an eye out for similar alternative courses as you search through. Make a list of the universities that offer places for your grades and talk through the list with your teachers or advisors. The Student Room is a great place to quickly get opinions from trained experts, universities and current students.

4. “I’m really stuck, I didn’t get my firm or my insurance. What do I do now?”

Deciding what to do with your future is difficult, but it’s so important not to rush yourself. If you aren’t sure, there’s always the option to take a break from education with a gap year. Whether you travel, work, intern or volunteer, a gap year provides the chance to take time out and learn about what you love doing. Taking your gap year also gives you time to reapply in 2017.

5. “What do I do if I’m on holiday on my Results Day?”

If you’re away on Results Day, it’s a great idea to get a friend or someone in your family to pick up your results for you. Just make sure you let the college know who’s coming in on your behalf. Take your UCAS Track login away with you and have someone back at home who also has access so they can check it for you if you can’t access the internet.

If you end up in Clearing or wanting to use Adjustment, expect to be making lots of calls to universities. If you’re abroad it will make it more difficult and potentially expensive. If you know you’re going to be away on Results Day the best thing to do is be prepared. Research all potential outcomes and have an action plan ready in case you’re in Clearing and need to make calls to universities.

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