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Some of our happy students celebrating their results:) http://t.co/xglRIrS7rl
54% of students with a conditional offer from a university aren't prepared for the possibility that they might miss out on their first and second choice places, a new study has revealed.
The survey of 1,000 A-level students by Which? University also found:
- Only 48% are confident they'll get the grades they need for their first choice.
- 28% haven't thought about what they'll do if they miss their first choice.
- 70% haven't researched clearing.
- 83% of those surveyed have a second, insurance choice as a back up, but 40% of those don't actually want to go to their back-up and for 23%, the grades for their insurance choice are the same as or higher than those for their preferred course.
A record number of sixth-formers, 34.8%, applied for university this year, but an estimated 30% of students will miss out on their first choice place.
The total number of people going to university could top half a million for the first time this year, the university admissions service Ucas said.
Record numbers of students are heading to university this year, with almost 400,000 accepted on to degree courses already.
A record number of students have been accepted on degree courses with 396,990 taking up places so far - up 3% on last year, initial Ucas figures show.
Too many students are still opting for "meaningless" degrees instead of vocational courses to help plug the country's skills gap, a leading industry qualifications body has said.
Excellence, Achievement and Learning Limited, which oversees qualifications for the engineering, manufacturing and building services sectors, sounded the warning as thousands of young people were set to pick up their A-level results.
The body is proposing a Ucas-style clearing service for apprenticeships and work placements, cross-party talks at government level and an inquiry into the Careers Service.
"We need one million new skilled workers in the engineering sector alone in the next six years to cope with demand - and as it stands, that just won't happen," said Elizabeth Bonfield, EAL head of business innovation.
– Elizabeth Bonfield, EAL
This is a grave situation which has been in the making for decades. The pursuance of low-value often meaningless university degrees is still being led by those that influence the decision making of our young people.
The overall A-level pass rate has fallen for the first time in 32 years and there has been a small slide in the number of students achieving top grades, officials say.
Around 300,000 sixth-formers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level results today.
A 19-year-old student from Sheffield who lost 10 stone in 10 months after vowing to turn his life around is celebrating securing his dream of going to university.
Thomas Lowson suffered bullying and health problems when he reached 24 stone in January last year.
Now, after succeeding with a massive weight loss programme and moving to study A-levels at Sheffield College, Thomas has got the grades he needs to study English at Leeds Trinity University.
Celebrating this morning, he said: "The world's my oyster with results like this.
"Nerves have been setting in. It's been a case of pacing back and forth in my house from 4am this morning - I'm paranoid and pessimistic.
"But now I'm guaranteed to go to uni. I needed a C and a D, and I got a C and a B. I'm obviously exhilarated by that result."
It is a big day for students across the region as they pick up their A Level results.
But while it is normal for students who have done worse than they expected to go through clearing, Sheffield University has launched a new scheme encouraging students who have done better than predicted to ring up for a place.
Paul White, from the university, says students should apply for courses they really want to do: