You’ve done it. You made it through two years of intensive studies, coursework, endless revision, and one hell of an exam period. Go you!
This week, it’s finally time to reap the rewards.
If everything goes to plan, you’ll wind up with the grades you were hoping for and everything will be hunky dory. Party time. On with the plan, whether that be heading to uni, taking an apprenticeship, heading out on a gap year or going into work.
Better grades than you expected? Double win! You can think about UCAS Adjustment if you now want to change the uni or course you’d like to go to, but make sure it’s the right decision for you and not a last minute panic.
Most of the time, it’s better to give yourself a year out to work or travel, and reapply next year once you’ve had the chance to think things through and consider your options.
And if it doesn’t go quite the way you’d hoped? Don’t panic. No, seriously. Even if your grades are lower than expected, you’re in a strong position.
Firstly, uni applications are low right now. So low that there are tens of thousands of courses still unfilled. Unis are getting ready to fight it out for the undecided students grabbing hold of their grades this week, so you’ve got all the cards.
As The Guardian says in their article on the 30,000 unfilled courses – including those in the ‘most popular and sought-after institutions in the UK’ – it’s a buyers market.
As soon as you have your grades, be they good or bad, you’re a sure bet rather than a gamble. Give the admissions offices of your top choices a call, and see whether they’ll still think about offering you a place.
If that doesn’t work out, consider your options with UCAS Clearing, where you can apply for other courses that might suit your current grades better. But just like with Adjustment, it might not always be the best option if your decision is more headless chicken than level-headed.
A new feature of clearing in 2019 allows you to release yourself into clearing. In the past you had to contact your chosen university to ask to be released into clearing to apply elsewhere.
This new feature has some advantages compared to how it was in the past. It keeps you in control of the process and means you don't have to hang about while you wait for your university to release you. It also saves you time as around results day university hotlines get extremely busy. If you don't have to contact them, you won't be in the queue. It also makes the process much more straightforward so you won't get that added stress.
However be very careful when deciding to release yourself into clearing. Once you do so it's unlikely your existing place will stay open so if you change your mind you may not be able to go back to your original choice. You will also have to reapply for accommodation at your new university as well as make sure you update all the relevant student finance documents.
If it’s a course that’s right for you at a place you like, then go for it. Otherwise, hedge your bets and take a year out. We’ve got loads of ideas on how to make the most of it.
LUCY HARDING is the Editorial manager for Push. She is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach
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