Worrying about A-Level results?

The long wait is over for A-Level results and many may not have got the grades they need. This doesn't have to be a disaster. Our ITV West Country presenter Jonty Messer told us:

"I had hoped to go to Exeter University to study Psychology but unfortunately, despite getting three Bs, wasn't accepted. I took some time, worked, saved money and went travelling for a few months while re-applying to University.

"I ended up going to UWE in Bristol to study Psychology and had a fantastic experience. I loved the city, made friends for life and really enjoyed the course. Who knows? If I had gone to Exeter I might never have ended up presenting the news for ITV West Country".

Our weather presenter Charlie Powell picked up the phone when he got his results.

"On results day, I didn't quite get the grades required for my first choice of university, but a call to the admissions office (and some slight begging) was enough to talk things through and I secured a place at Birmingham to study geography".

He went on to study for a Masters in meteorology and the rest is history.

The UCAS team hard at work fielding calls on A-Level results day. Credit: ITV West Country

Many people who fail to get the results they hoped for can go through Clearing, which is organised by UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

This is an application process, which allows universities to fill any spaces they may have on their courses following the results. It means students can find a course to suit them, even if their exam results are not quite as expected.

Last year a record number of students, nearly 67,000, found university places through Clearing, according to Future Mag.

You can apply for Clearing here.

Bath Spa University has provided a useful Guide to Clearing

  • Prepare

You might think you only need to ‘cross that bridge when you get there’ but taking the time to do some research ahead of results day will guarantee a less stressful situation. Look into all the universities that offer the subject you’re interested in beforehand so you have plenty of options to choose from.

  • Start now

Clearing is already open and most universities will list which courses they have places on. With days until results day, head to the UCAS website to check what’s available. Look out for the courses you’re interested in, though don’t be surprised if you come across other exciting courses at universities you hadn’t considered until now. There’s plenty of choice!

  • Pick up the phone

Don’t be afraid to talk to a university to see if they have availability in the courses you’re interested in. It gives you the perfect chance to collate all the information you need before making your choice. You could also ask about facilities, accommodation, student support, careers support etc..

  • Keep an open mind

Don’t be scared to widen your horizons. Even if you have the grades for your first choice, you might spot a course more suited to you or that you are more interested in and you can change your mind. Clearing isn’t just for those who haven’t got the marks needed. If you pick a course that you love the sound of, chances are you’ll end up loving that university more than your initial choice.

  • Don’t stress!

Health and mental well-being is particularly important during stressful times. The more prepared you are the less panicked you’ll feel on the day – and the more likely you are to make a rational and well-informed decision!

Credit: ITV West Country

Don't forget there is also the option of putting off university for a year. You could use the time to resit exams or get a job and earn some money.

You might even consider going down an alternative route such as starting an apprenticeship.