A Level Results Day

24/08/2013  -  10.00

Ian Hart, Head of Access and Outreach

‘A’ Level Results Day – Thursday 15th August

This Thursday (August 15th) lots of students will receive their ‘A’ level results and the images of the day will mainly show happy smiley faces.

For those who achieve the grades they need to join their preferred course, this will indeed be a time for joy but, for those who fall short of what they need, this will be a day of pressure and panic!

The University’s ‘The Gateway@The George’ has been opening longer recently (until 7pm in the evenings) so that students can talk to our advisers about getting prepared for results day. We think that being prepared for all eventualities will help students to be calm and considered in the response they make to their results. After all, it is often the case that decisions made in haste or in a panic often turn out not to be the best ones that could have been made.

I am always surprised that there is so much confusion about the whole process of applying to universities – they’ve been around a long time - and especially about Clearing. For example, a fairly common misconception is the belief that if students did not apply by January 2013 then they are too late for the 2013/14 academic year.

In reality, the UCAS final deadline for the forthcoming academic year is 20th September 2013.

Obviously, it is better for students to apply earlier than this, if that is possible, and our team encourages students to make application as early in the cycle as they can. But, individual circumstances vary and there will be students who, for various reasons, decide late on that they want to go to university. The good news is that they can and last year over 55000 students went to university through the Clearing system.

How do students get prepared?

On results day, students who have already applied through UCAS will need their UCAS number and UCAS website password.

They will need to ensure they have access to a telephone (notebook and pen) and preferably the internet and time and a (preferably quiet) place so that they can make a positive response to the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Before results day students should consider the possibilities with which they will be presented as follows:

  1. ‘I’ve got my grades for my first choice’ – great, now students need to sort out accommodation and travel arrangements in time to start the course smoothly
  2. ‘I’ve got much better grades than I expected so I want to choose another course/university’ – this is possible throughAdjustment and students will need to follow UCAS guidance
  3. ‘I’ve made my insurance offer’ – great, then a place is assured
  4. ‘I’ve made my insurance offer, but I don’t want to go there’ – students will first need to contact the ‘insurance university’ and ask to be released from their obligation. If they agree, then they can go into Clearing
  5. I haven’t got my ‘firm’ or ‘insurance’ offer’ – the first thing is not to be downhearted because there are plenty of good quality courses available through Clearing, but students should not delay making a considered choice from the courses available (UCAS course search). The first 48 hours are very important!

Before results day, it is desirable to prepare for each of these eventualities.

If students find themselves in the position of seeking an alternative university/course through Clearing, then they should ideally have done their research on the alternative course/universities that will suit their needs. They might want to consider courses which require lower entry requirements than their firm and insurance offers and on results day they can use UCAS course search to check their availability.

Going through Clearing involves the same considerations students first took into account when they applied through UCAS i.e. including: does this course involve the content and progression opportunities I am looking for; is this a University that meets all my needs and that I will enjoy studying at?

On results day, students will need to contact universities to inquire about joining. It is important that students know about the university and the course they are inquiring about because the telephone call may feel like a ‘mini interview’.

Universities want students to make an informed choice that both the university and the student will be happy with – evidence of some research will help to provide this reassurance.

If students identify alternative universities/courses before results day, they will be first ‘out of the blocks’ and into Clearing – they will then have a better chance of getting what they want.

Students should remember that results day August 15th 2013 is only one window of opportunity for moving ahead with their learning and career plans – there are many others available to them!

Advisers in The Gateway@The George and our Outreach team, which will be visiting schools and colleges on results day, will be able to provide help and support through all of this.

For more, our contact information: 01902 321032 or gateway@wlv.ac.uk