A Levels 2017: I’ve got my results – what now?
Students all over England and Wales will be collecting their A Level and AS Level results on Thursday 17 August. For most it is a nerve-racking, but exciting experience, as their future plans are dependent on getting the grades to go to their chosen university or college.
However for those who did not get the results they needed, or those who have changed their mind since applying for a higher education course, the period following results day can be a stressful time, involving some difficult decision making under the pressure of a tight timeframe. So for both school-leavers and their parents, it’s worth reading up on the options available after results day.
Here’s our quick guide to the range of options for every results day outcome:
I didn’t get the grades I needed
If you haven’t met the requirements of a conditional offer, don’t panic. First and foremost, check UCAS Track, as there’s still a chance your firm choice has accepted you. If it says ‘unconditional’ you’re in, regardless of not meeting the original conditions of the offer.
If you’ve missed out on a place at your firm choice, there’s still a chance you’ve been accepted by your insurance offer. If this is the case, remember to change your student loan details and sort out accommodation at your insurance choice. If the offer is still showing up as ‘conditional’ at your insurance choice by midday on results day, it means they haven’t decided yet and you’ll need to call them to find out.
If Track says you’ve been unsuccessful in getting a place at your firm or insurance choices, you have the option of entering the Clearing process.
Clearing is the system universities and colleges use to fill any places they still have left after results day. Clearing vacancies are listed on the UCAS website and are regularly updated from July to September, so it’s worth regularly checking back if you can’t find the course you want.
By entering Clearing you will see if your grades are acceptable to another college or university. You may be offered a place to do a different course than the one you originally applied for or at an institution you haven’t considered going to. You have five days accept, so read the course description carefully, discuss the options with your family, friends or teachers, and remember you don’t have to take it if it doesn’t feel right.
Retake and Reapply
An alternative option is to retake your A Levels and reapply for entry to a higher education course next year. This option can give you a second chance to get a place on the course you originally wanted, rather than accepting a place through Clearing which you feel you might regret.
Alternatives routes to your dream career
There are an increasing number of entry routes to the majority of careers, and it is worth considering whether one of these would suit you. Apprenticeships have become a popular choice for those who want to train for career and gain qualifications without the hefty debt of a student loan. Gloucestershire College trains apprentices in partnership with 650 of the county’s businesses to perform a broad range of roles, including those you wouldn’t necessarily expect like Digital Marketer, Accountant, Software Developer and Teaching Assistant. All GC apprenticeships lead to qualifications and some can take you all the way to a degree or professional accreditation.
For those who don’t want to miss out on the student experience, taking a higher education course at college could be the right move. HNC courses are the equivalent of the first year of university, and HND and Foundation Degrees are the equivalent of years one and two of a degree. Many students opt to do these courses, which typically have lower entry requirements than university, and progress on to complete their degree via a top-up year at university. Gloucestershire College offers a wide range of higher education courses, delivered in a campus environment at a lower cost than university. These courses must also be applied for through UCAS, with places available through Clearing for this September. Find out more at: www.gchigher.co.uk
I did better than I expected
If your grades are better than you expected – congratulations! If you have exceeded the entry requirements of your firm choice, you now have the option of looking for a place on a different course or at a different university, which asks for higher entry grades. The UCAS Adjustment service is available from results day until 31 August through Track. It gives you the option of seeing what else is available to you whilst holding on to the offer from your firm choice while you decide.
I need more advice
Gloucestershire College will be open for free post A Level advice on Friday 18 August. Drop into Student Services at any of the three GC campuses between 10am and 4pm, to speak to higher education experts and the GC Advice Team about your options and get information on the College’s higher education courses.