Guide to A-Level results day
A Level results day is a rollercoaster of emotion for every student. Within 24 hours you can experience nerves, happiness, disappointed and relief. As a school student, you realise that a major chapter in your life is drawing to a close and your next chapter as a university student is about to begin. However, in order to reduce your stress levels on results day, you need to be organised. Know where to find your A Level results, what to do if things don't go to plan and what you should be doing (apart from celebrating!) if you do meet your firm offer.
The big day
Thursday 15th August is A-Level results day (Wednesday 7th August if you are in Scotland). For most students you can check your UCAS Track to see whether you have achieved your firm offer. This usually occurs in the early morning of the 15th, but be aware the server will be overloaded and it may be difficult to access Track. If you are struggling, you can also go to your school to pick up your results.
What to do if you meet your firm offer
Celebrate! If your status on UCAS Track has not altered, don't panic. Sometimes it can take a while - think of all the people who use UCAS. Over the next few days you should receive a letter from UCAS, which will confirm your place at the university. When you receive this letter, read through it carefully, making note of any information or things you need to do. If there are any forms, make sure you complete them and send them straight away to ensure no further delays.
If you have met and exceeded your required UCAS tariff or entry requirements, you may be eligible for UCAS Adjustment. This allows you to search for other courses with higher requirements (which you may not have originally applied to). To see how you can classify for UCAS Adjustment, check out our ultimate guide to Clearing.
What to do if you do not meet your offer
Firstly, don't panic. You always have your insurance offer. If, however, you don't meet your insurance offer, go to your school to seek further advice. Take a mobile, pen and paper, all your UCAS personal information, a copy of your personal statement/reference and your AS results. You will have the option of going through UCAS Clearing, so be sure to try and buy a copy of The Telegraph (they print all course vacancies) and have a read of it during your journey to school. Whilst you may be disappointed, don't feel too disheartened. There are plenty of other courses available that you can choose from, so don't worry about not going to university. Have our handy Clearing checklist to hand on the day to ensure you don’t forget anything.
Help! Who to turn to for advice
The best place to seek advice is your school. Whilst your parents might be comforting, they may not have the knowledge and experience in dealing with results day. Whilst it is difficult, try and relax. Panicking can lead to rash decisions and emotional breakdowns. Remember there are thousands of students who are in your position, you really aren't the only one; and you want to ensure you make the right decision.
Try and speak to your Head of Year or your Careers Adviser to discuss your options. Find yourself a room or a quiet space where you can calmly begin considering your options. Avoid discussing your grades and situation with your peers. Instead, be methodical and organised. Using the UCAS website or The Telegraph, find out what courses are still vacant. Search the course and university online using our course search before phoning the universities. Whilst you may feel worried about not having a place, quickly selecting a course without careful consideration is also a mistake.
When you start phoning universities make sure you have your personal ID and Clearing number ready and can easily access a computer. Also have your mobile with you at all times, just in case a university is trying to contact you. In light of recent news and comments from universities, it’s crucial to ensure you call the university yourself.
A Level results day is an exciting and tense time; the key is that whatever your results, if you are prepared and act in the most rational way, you will find a place – which may be just as good or even better than your original university choice.