Advice and Help for A Level Students
Well, it’s that time of year again when thousands of you, A Level students across the UK, will wake up with that sick feeling in the pit of your stomachs or a million butterflies teetering around as you try to eat breakfast but if you are anything like me, end up pushing it aside due to sheer anticipation of those oh so important RESULTS!
Yes, it’s A Level Results day in the UK. Before long many of you will be arriving at your place of education to open the envelope, which could determine your entire future career.
Sadly, getting the right grades is even more of a pressure this year with university fees set to top up to £9k per year at some universities… an amount, which is just too far out of reach for many of you, who consider this year to be your chance. Despite the doom and gloom swirling around in the media, we must remember that this year is 2011 and this year fees remain ‘less expensive’ let’s say, because tuition fees are still mighty high.
So, how did you get on?
I Got the Grades to meet my Firm Offer at my First Choice University
Congratulations! if you have got the grades, that is fantastic news! But, please spare a thought for all those fellow students who have not been so lucky and may have just missed out on their dream placement.
Whilst your first instinct maybe to call your first choice university, remember today is going to be a manic (with a capital M) day for them and it is advisable to leave the lines open for those students who didn’t make the grade and are now having to embark on the ‘Clearing Process’.
If you have met the grades outlined in your ‘Firm Offer’ then please try to resist calling and keep checking the UCAS Track, but bear in mind it may take some time to update. Difficult to resist calling the university, I know!
Sit tight, within a few days you will receive your AS12 letter from your university, confirming your placement and course details. Then the hard work begins!
My Grades are Higher than Expected, What About Adjustment?
If your grades have turned out to be simply stunning, better than you ever expected, you might now be thinking you could have opted for another university with more stringent grading criteria.
Adjustment is optional and to find out if your grades qualify you, I would recommend you visit the UCAS website to double-check.
You will have just a few days to register you adjustment interest on Track so ensure you register in good time if this is the option you want to take. You will have to physically visit each universities website for Adjustment places as I understand these are not published by UCAS and the UCAS Track system.
I Didn’t Get the Grades to meet my Firm Offer
Don’t panic! I know it is easier said than done but if you have missed your firm offer, check the Track system to see if it is a conditional or unconditional offer. If the offer is unconditional, then you have a place, all you have to do is wait for the AS12 letter.
If it is still showing conditional, then it is advisable to call the university, they’ve probably sent you a letter already with the phone number on, to ask them if you are accepted and don’t forget to sell yourself to them! Remind them just how fantastic your module results were, how you have narrowly missed the grade by X marks and, of course, how much of a committed student you are.
If they have not made a decision, don’t forget to ask them when you can expect to hear from them. They shouldn’t keep you hanging around for too long but if you don’t hear within a few days, follow it up or contact UCAS directly.
If your UCAS Track is showing up as unsuccessful, I am sorry to say you have not made it on this occasion but don’t despair, there are still options open to you but perhaps not your ideal option. Please bear in mind that pleading and begging is unlikely to secure that place so you would be better spending your time seeking an alternative placement.
What About University Places Available Via The ‘Clearing’ Process?
Clearing works two-fold. It helps universities to fill vacant course spaces and offers students a vital chance to find a course placement if results mean you’ve missed out on your first choice university.
Clearing actually runs in to October but you MUST have your application registered before 20/9/11. However, the sooner you register, the better as the majority of places are snapped up and allocated within the first week or so after A Level results are published.
Am I eligible for The Clearing Process?
You will be eligible for UCAS’ clearing process if your UCAS application is current and you have not withdrawn for any reason. In order to be eligible for clearing, you must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Have NO current university placement OFFERS on the table
- Your university has NOT confirmed your place due to unexpected grades, etc
- You have DECLINED or not responded to an offer you have been made
- Your UCAS application didn’t go through until after 30/6/11
If you are in the UCAS Clearing System you will be allocated a ‘Clearing Number’ on the UCAS Track System. Keep this number SAFE!! You will need this number whenever you speak to a university and so they can view your application.
The beauty of clearing is that you can apply for any course which takes your fancy, even if it is nothing like the type of course you originally applied for. If you are looking for a specific course, the options might be limited and you might have to make a compromise but if you do take an alternative course, ensure you have made the right decision for YOU and it’s not just a knee-jerk reaction to ensure you have uni place.
I think it goes without saying that there are some universities who don’t participate in the Clearing System: Oxford, Cambridge and UCL for example, due to the huge demand for their prestigious places.
Where are Clearing Vacancies Published?
Clearing Vacancies will be published all week in the Telegraph newspaper but you will also find clearing vacancies in places, such as:
- UCAS Website
- Individual University websites
- Telegraph newspaper
- Local Universities may advertise their spare places in your local newspaper
Clearing Vacancy University Contact List 2011
Twitter ID: #ucasclearing
UCAS Contact Information
Already, UCAS has opened a special telephone helpline for those students who have not quite made the grades required. They also have lots of information on their website and also have ‘apps’ for most platforms, including BlackBerry, Android and iPhone. You will also find them on Twitter and their Twitter Clearing ID is: #ucasclearing
UCAS Helpline: 0808 100 8000
UCAS Website: http://www.ucas.com/students/track/
UCAS Mobile App info: www.ucasconnect.com
Remember, the UCAS Track system is likely to be horrendously busy in the coming days and so access may be a bit temperamental in the early hours as IT systems tend to chose times like this to throw a wobbler… just when you don’t need it!
For more information, please visit reputable sites including:
The Student Room: they have a dedicated page for A Level students.
The Government website: A Level Results Guidance Information
The Telegraph: Clearing Guide and Placements
Actually, I Have Decided I Don’t Want to go to University After All!
That is fine, there are lots of options open to you and I wrote a blog post dedicated to this a few weeks ago, you can go straight to it by clicking “What if University is NOT for me?”
I’ve Decided I Want to get a Job
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