Here’s everything you need to know about what to expect from A-Level results day 👇
The big day has arrived: A-Level results are in.
No matter how well you’ve performed, take a moment to pat yourself on the back for making it through a school year like no other. With exams cancelled and replaced by teacher-assessed grades, this isn’t business-as-usual for A-Level students!
Remember, however high or low your grades are, you have many options available to you. If you’re not sure on your next steps, don’t worry – we’ve got your back.
Check out our guide below to getting your A-Level results, choosing your university and applying through Clearing or Adjustment 💪
What's in this guide?
Looking for some specific advice? Here's what's covered in this guide.👉 Tips for choosing your university
👉 What to do if you didn't get the grades you wanted (of you did better)
👉 How to navigate Clearing and Adjustment
👉 Accepting an offer
💭 Tips for choosing your university
If you’re fortunate enough to have unconditional offers or your A-Level results meet the conditional requirements for acceptance, it’s time to choose which uni is right for you.
By now, you’ve probably done a fair bit of research to focus the choices down to a top 3. Before you make the big decision, we recommend delving a bit deeper into the lifestyle, culture, campus and course.
The following methods are always useful in getting to know a bit more about your chosen universities:
Scope out the website
Start of your search with a scan of the university website if you haven’t already. Here, you should be able to find out everything you need to know about your course, the Students' Union, the clubs and societies on offer and the sports facilities. You’ll also be in the right place to check out their rankings and reputation in teaching, career building and student satisfaction. While you’re here, you might want to look at the exact location of the campus and do some sleuthing on Google Maps to see what’s in the surrounding areas.
Read the reviews
While a university’s website will inevitably promote their best qualities to entice prospective students, it’s always a good idea to get the low-down straight from the source. Both WhatUni and Student Crowd are packed with honest reviews that go into detail about campus facilities, clubs and socs, university staff and all-round experience of their university.
The Student Crowd usefully provides information on acceptance rates, entry requirements and accommodation to help you make an informed decision. Keep in mind that people are more likely to write negative reviews than positive reviews and not to let one person’s poor experience influence your entire decision.
Scroll student forums
On forums like The Student Room, students and alumni tell it like it is about everything from nightlife in the student city to helpfulness of the support staff and difficulty of the course. There’s even a dedicated forum on The Student Room for chatting about A-Level results. This is a great place to get advice and info from those in-the-know.
Torn between Birmingham and Sheffield for your engineering course? Wondering what makes York’s biology course special? Eager to know what the music scene is like in Newcastle? Start a discussion and get a sounding board for your university choices.
Get a virtual tour
When in doubt, take to YouTube for a video tour of the universities on your list. This is as close as you’ll get to seeing what the uni is like without visiting for an Open Day. Beyond the official videos made by the universities themselves, make sure to watch a couple of video blogs and reviews made by students to get a full view on the advantages and disadvantages of studying at a particular uni or their experience of the course you’re thinking of enrolling to.
👀 What to do if you didn’t get the grades you wanted
Results not what you were hoping for? Or done better than expected? We’ve all been there. You might be wondering whether you can still get into uni if you didn’t get the grades, or whether universities accept lower grades. Additionally, what about getting higher grades than you thought?
Before you jump to conclusions or make rash decisions, take a deep breath and most importantly, don’t panic. A-Level results are important, but Clearing and Adjustment could be your second chance.
These are systems, offered by the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), that gives you the opportunity to change your course or uni of choice before the deadline.
Clearing and Adjustment sound a bit confusing, but they're basically a workaround that can help you if:
- You haven’t been accepted by your university choices
- You're applying after June 30th
- You didn’t meet the conditions of the offers you received
- You want to go to uni but haven’t yet applied
- You rejected an offer because you changed your mind about your course/uni
Make a list of universities/courses you want to enrol to
Clearing is a fast process, so it’s best to do your homework in advance and assess the market. Most university courses will have a limited number of spaces, and those spaces go quickly. If you can, do your research early and make your mind up early about the subject you want to study. Remember, it’s perfectly fine to change your mind and reconsider your original choice – just make sure you get all the facts before you dive on in to the Clearing candidate’s pool.
Get some advice
Between 5th July and 19th October, you can apply for a course using Clearing, provided that the course still has places. While this option could open the door to your dream course, we recommend getting a second opinion from a dedicated UCAS advisor or your school, college or local career advisor. After you’ve had a chat about your options, you’ll feel better equipped to make your decision.
Contact the university staff
If have your heart set on a particular course, it might be worth getting in touch and familiarising yourself with the staff at your chosen universities. Phone lines will be quite busy, but you’ll get through eventually. Giving them a ring can help you secure a spot on your course of choice and speed up the process.
Remember, most universities will ask for your 10-digit UCAS number when you call as well as the qualifications you’ve taken and the grades you’ve achieved, so make sure you have all this information to hand.
Some universities will display the courses available through Clearing on their websites on the day of A-Level results, so it’s worth keeping these tabs open and checking throughout the day for live updates.
✅ Accepting an offer
If you get accepted through Clearing on a course that you love, you’ll need to confirm that you’re accepting the offer. Since spaces on courses through Clearing are limited, you might feel pressured to make a snap decision. If you have any doubts whatsoever whether the uni or course is right for you, don’t hesitate to take a moment to think and give the university a call back when you’ve got your answer. If they’re happy to accept you, you’ll receive a conformation letter and your Track screen in UCAS will be updated.
Find out more about Clearing via UCAS here.