Rarely in life are we put in a position where one day can dominate our entire summer. As young people, leaders of tomorrow, we end up putting so much pressure on ourselves to succeed on results day, excel in our academics and thrive in our exams.

The message I want to put across here is that our success is not defined by a single gradesheet, but rather how we respond to it. There are a number of available options for young people on results day and the weeks following. The aim of this post is to provide you with the information you need to make the most out of your results.

Going into your GCSE results day, you need the grades to take the particular subjects you’d like at college. A*s are super but if the college you’re going to is only asking for a B then please don’t be put down if you got a B! Almost all universities (with the exception of Oxford and Cambridge) solely look at your grades at college courses so although your GCSE grades are crucial for your A Level entry, they have little bearing on much else beyond three or four years’ time. Another thing to realise is that there is no wrong choice in where to study or train for your furthering education. An A Level in Maths is an A Level in Maths, no matter where you study it so try to make the most out of wherever you end up.

“Well now that I look back on it I wish I wasn’t as stressed out as I was…”

Dorna, Geography, University of Derby.

First of all, I’d like to give you an outlook on the clearing system. If, unfortunately, you do not meet your requirements for neither your firm nor insurance choice or even if you hadn’t considered university but surprise yourself with results, you will be eligible for UCAS Clearing. This means that you will have a chance to search the vast number of vacancies at universities. Think of all of the insurance choices that have been left by people going on to their firm choices; firm and insurance choices left by other people on clearing; as well as people who leave their offers to go through adjustment (which will be explained later). Clearing allows you to search through these vacancies and pick one that suits you.

The steps UCAS recommend you take when going through clearing are as follows:

  1. Ask for advice. – advisors at your college, school, careers office or here at Bedazzle are available for you to discuss alternative courses/subjects.
  2. See what courses are available. – a full list of vacancies should be available on the UCAS website; check back regularly as the list does get updated; you don’t have to stick to your original subject idea.
  3. Talk to any unis or colleges you are interested in. – give them your UCAS details so they can view your application. They may reconsider you even if you applied for them earlier on in the year.
  4. Add clearing choice in Track. – once you’ve had confirmation of an offer from a university or college, add the details on UCAS track to accept your offer.

“There are a huge amount of courses from really fantastic universities listed on clearing, so don’t panic too much!”

Parissa, History, UCL.

There is no obligation for you to take an offer from clearing. A large number of people decide to take a gap year and reapply the next year in hope that their grades improve which is a perfectly viable option and sometimes works out for the best as you could end up in a far better position in the next year. One of my close friends didn’t get her first choice, but the university contacted her offering a foundation course in the sciences, which, once completed, would open her up to any related course she’d like, including her initial firm choice. She declined this choice and went on to her insurance option, however she says that if she had done more research on foundation courses then she would have taken this offer.

From here, what I want to highlight is the fact that this past year, even having not been at her first choice university, she has still thoroughly enjoyed herself and learnt a lot this year. She didn’t get her first choice, but she still had two very rewarding options which can very easily happen to any of you if you don’t get your first choice.

“Research lots of different options if you don’t get into your firm choice and if you don’t want to go to your insurance then don’t as there’s no point doing a subject you like at a place you dislike as it will have a big impact”

Dorna, Geography, University of Derby

You could be very happy with both, your firm and insurance choices which is great. Even though your first choice was not attained, keep in mind that your second choice could be prosperous for you. If you have no major qualms towards your insurance choice, then why not take it and make the most out of your time there. It’s worth considering but no stress is necessary as you just might be in a win-win situation.

“Stop worrying so much about where you end up and start looking forward to what you’re going to be studying because the truth is you’ll make lifelong friends wherever you end up and learn what you want either way so look forward to it rather than be scared of the outcome.”

Julia, Mechanical Engineering, UCL

Alternatively, you could find yourself in the very fortunate position of exceeding the grades required by your first choice. At this point you will be eligible to apply for UCAS Adjustment. This means that you have 5 days to contact any universities you like, pass on your UCAS details to them and they view your application and grades and decide whether or not they want to make you an offer. If they do make you an offer then congratulations, and if they don’t, then you still have your firm choice in place so… congratulations!

The time leading up to results day can sometimes be tougher than the day itself, for both A Level and GCSE results day. This is why when I asked people who have been through results day what their one piece of advice for someone else would be, pretty much all of them said relax and enjoy your summer before results day. Easier said than done, I know, but once the exams are sent off to be marked, there’s nothing more we can do to change things. Worrying about what may or may not happen is not worth putting a damper on your holidays.

If you’re having trouble blocking out the negative thoughts, well, that’s natural. You’re a human being and we humans are better off talking and supporting one another. So I hope this post has helped you put things into perspective and please don’t hesitate to contact us at Bedazzle if there’s anything we can do to help.  Good Luck, Elso.

Don’t suppress feelings. Let them out straight away and if you feel sad go ask for help because the only way you get over it is by facing the sadness and then you can enjoy it again” 


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