By Ian Hart, Head of Access and Outreach
If you achieve higher or lower grades in your ‘A’ levels than you expected, you have a number of options to choose from. In either case, be calm and focused on what you want.
It is important to remind yourself what your priorities are. Is there a particular university where you want to be based or a specific course that you want to study? If so, remember that these are your priorities and you need to take actions to achieve them.
If your grades are lower than expected, it still might be possible to get a place on your first choice university and course. Make contact with the university and speak to the Admissions Tutor for the course you want, explain your circumstances and why you still want to join the course. You will need to show knowledge of the course and evidence of your commitment.
If you cannot secure a place on your first choice course, consider other courses at the university which have a link with your first choice subject, but where the entry grades are lower. You might be able to transfer to your first choice course at a later date, although there is no guarantee. Alternatively, you could consider the same course at a university which requires lower entry grades or you could explore Foundation, HNC and HND courses which will enable you to progress onto your degree course.
In the case where your grades are higher and you have made application through UCAS, you can seek an alternative university or course by making an ‘adjustment’. You will need to follow UCAS guidance. However, it is important to remember that you must have met and exceeded your firm offer if you want to seek adjustment through UCAS.
In all cases, you will need your UCAS website password and UCAS Personal ID number. You will also need access to a telephone, notebook and pen, preferably the internet and a quiet place to negotiate. Your school or college will probably have made arrangements for advice and guidance during this period and there are also advisers at universities who can help you.
There are plenty of good quality courses available through Clearing, but do not delay in making aconsidered choice (see UCAS course search) because there is competition for places. Remember your priorities and ensure that you join the course and university that is right for you.