It’s the day that most teenagers dread. Collecting A-Level results can be a very nerve-wracking experience. Finally finding out if you’ve succeeded in getting it to the university of your choice is a big moment. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t receive the news you would have wanted.
Some students will discover that they haven’t got the grades they needed for the university they wanted to go to. That isn’t a problem; there are still options available if this applies to you, the main one being clearing. A record number of 57,000 teenagers still got places at universities last year through the UCAS clearing process.
In preparation of results day, here are some useful numbers you may need:
UCAS - 0371 4680 468
Exams Results Helpline - 0800 100 8000
Visit the UCAS website for the Clearing list of universities/individual university websites
Student Advice Line 020 7788 9214
Samaritans 08457 90 90 90
Before heading off to school to collect your results on Thursday August 14th make sure you have a pen or pencil and notepad, mobile phone, calculator in case you need to add up your module marks, your AS results, UCAS letter with your UCAS number and other important information such as your conditional offer grades; contact details for both your firm and insurance offers;c opy of your personal statement; copy of your reference (if you have it) and contact details of your referee.
If you are concerned that you may have to go through clearing it’s a good idea to pick a copy of the Independent newspaper, as it publishes the full list of clearing places available.
If you've got the results you need to meet your firm offer.
Congratulations! Phone your family and friends and tell everyone the good news! But don’t call up the university to confirm – leave the line free for someone who hasn’t met their offer and is worrying.
If your status on UCAS Track isn’t updated yet, don’t panic – it can sometimes take a while. If it hasn’t been updated by the end of Monday, ring the university and check everything is ok.
UCAS will put your AS12 letter in the post the day after UCAS Track has updated your status. This letter confirms your place at the university and your course choice. This means you are now definitely going to university (unless you decide university isn’t the right step for you anymore).
As soon as you receive your AS12 letter, read it through carefully and check whether there is a slip at the bottom that you have to fill out and send back to the university. Some unis ask you to send it back; some don’t, but the instructions will tell you if you need to or not.
Make sure you keep the letter in a safe place, as you will need it to open your student bank account before the start of term, and possibly other things that require you to verify that you have a place at university.
If your results are higher than those required for your firm offer, you are entitled to look around for a university that carries higher entry requirements.
This is called 'Adjustment' and is an optional process.
If you wish to consider this path, you will need to register for Adjustment through UCAS Track.
You will be given 5 days from the date your conditional offer is changed to an unconditional offer in which to find an alternative place.
This time includes weekends, although cannot be extended beyond 31st August 2014 anyway.
While you are in the Adjustment process, your original firm choice will be held for you, so don’t worry if you do not find anything suitable within the 5 day time frame.
If yoiu've missed your firm offer, hopefully you are not too disappointed by this news – it is still possible your university will accept you.
The first thing to do is check your status on UCAS Track – if it says you have been accepted, then great! Go ahead and celebrate and remember to leave the phone lines clear.
If UCAS Track still shows your offer as conditional, phone the university and check whether you have been accepted.
If you cannot find a special Clearing number for the uni, just ring their admissions office.
If your firm choice does not accept you with lower grades, try not to dwell on it too much – it’s disappointing and upsetting, but there are still options and you will definitely end up going to university one way or the other.
If you've met your insurance offer, this is a similar situation to meeting your firm offer – you don’t really need to do anything at the moment, just wait until your AS12 letter arrives through the post.
One thing you will need to do in the near future is to use the change of circumstances (CO1) form for your student loan. You can download the form here, but it’s best to wait for your AS12 letter before doing this.
If you've missed your insurance offer, check your status on UCAS Track to see if you’ve been accepted with lower grades – if not, then ring up the university and ask for their decision. If they still accept you, wonderful! If not, you will enter clearing.
If you've missed your grades the uni of your choice may offer you a different course. If this is the case, you will see 'UCC' on your UCAS Track page (this means 'unconditional changed course'), along with the new course code. You will have a period of 5 days to decide whether to accept this change of course.
You will receive an AS12C letter from UCAS that will explain your options to you, although you can still accept or decline the offer on UCAS Track before you receive the AS12C letter.
If you decide to defer your offer, you will need to get in touch with the university as soon as your place with them is confirmed and tell them you wish to defer.
You should contact the university as soon as you’ve decided, although you can do this any time up until the start date of your course.
It’s a good idea to have your reasons why you want to do this ready in your mind, or written down somewhere, e.g. you want to take a gap year to do some volunteering work, or learn a language, etc.
Most universities will be ok with this, although if they are not, you are probably best off withdrawing from UCAS and reapplying next year.
What if your results are a total shock, and you think there may have been a mistake? Be aware that there is a charge for getting your papers remarked, although sometimes your school will pay for this, so ask them first before writing any cheques.
You will be refunded the money if your grade changes, although it’s important to remember that your grades can go down as well as up.
It’s worth considering talking to your teachers first, as they may feel the results are right and the marks are what you deserved to get.