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What happens if results day doesn’t go your way?

Emily Carter

You revised as hard as you could, you sat you final exams and now you’re enjoying your well earned, long, summer. There’s only one thing left to do… open that dreaded results envelope.
For some people, results day is a day to celebrate all their hard work paying off, but for others it can be a day where they’re struggling to see where they went wrong. I was in the second group, I didn’t get the grades I needed and it was heartbreaking for me. All sorts of questions were circling round in my head: “did I revise enough?”, “where did I go wrong in the exams?” and the biggest one “can I still go to university?” For the people who fall in this group results day can be a nightmare and so here’s my guide on how to make a hellish results day a little bit more bearable.

1. Don’t panic!

This is probably the most important point and it’s one that underpins every other step on this list. At any moment it can all seem super overwhelming all over again and so at that moment you need to remind yourself that it will all be okay. As someone who has been in your position trust me when I say that it will be okay. There’s many different ways to get to university and it may just be that you don’t take the path that you initially thought you would; and that’s okay! For me the thing that got me the most worked up was working out how I was going to tell people that I hadn’t got in, but I had to decide that it was the least of my worries at that moment- I’d deal with it later on.

2. Ring both your firm and insurance choices.

Okay, so you’re now in clearing- which I promise you isn’t as scary as it sounds. The first thing to do is ring both your firm choice and your insurance choice to ask if they will still honour your place. They wanted you at one point and there’s a chance that they may still want you now. Think about it this way, they have empty places from the people who didn’t make the grades so you might as well see if they will let you fill one. What’s the worst that could happen, they say no? If they say yes then brilliant you’re in and can skip to the last step! I’m so glad that my teachers encouraged me to do this- otherwise I would have spent my whole life wondering what could have been.

3. Use the clearing search tool.

This is a really handy tool put together by UCAS where you can search the courses that still have places available that may accept you. Use this, along with the general idea of universities that you got from visiting open days, to make a list of universities that you would be happy to go to. Think about league tables, distance from home and the course outline when you’re deciding. Write a list of about 15 because you have to be prepared for a few to say no to you- that’s just the way that these things go.

4. Ring round the clearing hotlines for the universities on your list.

They’ll ask you for a few details such as your grades, UCAS number (so make sure you’ve got this to hand) and whether you got a C or above at GCSE English and Maths. Some will offer you a place on the spot, others may get a tutor to ring you back and you have to be prepared for some to say no to you. Don’t stop ringing when you’ve got one yes, but write a list of all the yeses you have- you can decide later on which one you’d most like to go to.

5. Accept a place.

Using your list of yeses, decide which university you’d most like to go to. You can then go onto track and add it as your clearing choice- just make sure not to add one that you haven’t been offered a place from. Also be aware that if you only had one choice to start off with you’ll have to pay an extra £11 to be able to use clearing.

6. Don’t worry if your journey to university looks slightly different to what you thought it would.

If you cannot find a university place through clearing, which is quite rare, you may have to find an alternative route to get there. Maybe this will be doing a foundation year, an access course or even resitting you’re A-levels; whatever it is, don’t worry there’s not just one way to get to university- and no one way is the correct way. However you get there, getting there is an achievement and you will thoroughly enjoy yourself once you’re there.

7. Treat yourself.

No matter how today has gone, you worked hard through A-levels and you deserve to treat yourself. Whether you’re celebrating or working out a new path, you’ll find all the best discounts here!!

Do you have anymore tips for how to cope when results day doesn’t go the way you hoped? If so I’d love to hear them so feel free to share them with me in the comments

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