A-levels – what to do if you don’t get your grades

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A-level results day is here. And all being well, you’ll have the grades you need for your course, and will be ready to take your next step in your academic career. But what if you don’t get the grades you’re expecting? What do you need to do on results day on this occasion?

The first thing to remember is that you have plenty of options in front of you. Read this handy guide of everything you need to know, so that you’re prepared for your next step.

  • Check UCAS Track at around 8am on results day. If you have not been accepted into your first choice, stay calm and head into school or college as soon as possible to find out what your results are.
  • If you have just missed your grades by a few UMS marks, it could be worth appealing to your first choice. If this is the case, contact the university and discuss this with them as soon as lines open.
  • If your first choice will not accept your lower grades, you have the opportunity to accept your insurance choice. If you’ve met these requirements – job done – your UCAS Track will update soon.
  • If you still want to go to university – and don’t want to re-sit, or take a year out – you have the choice to go into Clearing.
  • Clearing runs from results day to 9 September, and you will be entered automatically if you didn’t get the grades for your first and insurance choices. It allows you to browse university courses that are up for grabs. Remember that some institutions may close their courses very quickly if they are in high demand or only have a few places to offer, so don’t wait around.
  • Talk through with your teachers or advisers and see what they recommend. If you originally only applied for one course at the reduced £12 fee, you’ll have to pay the additional £11 to allow you to apply for multiple courses through Clearing.
  • Search through the Clearing vacancies on the UCAS website, or on your chosen university’s site.
  • Make a shortlist and get calling. Be professional and tell them why they should offer you a place on their course – you’ll also need to provide them with your results and UCAS ID. Remember that the course needs to be right for you and your future plans — don’t just settle for anything.
  • When a university you’re talking to accepts, you’ll get a letter or online notification. You will then have to log into UCAS track and refer yourself to your institution of choice.
  • Relax, pat yourself on the back, and celebrate! Keep checking for any additional correspondence from your new university over the following weeks.

Article written on behalf of Northumbria University.

Image: Marcos Calvo Mesa/123rf.com

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