Once results are in on Thursday, you have four options — two if you got the grades you wanted, and two if you didn't:
If you got the grades you wanted:
Thumbs up, round of applause, pat on the back, etc. Your two options are:
1) Stick to the plan. Whether you're heading off to uni or straight into a job, take a little time to celebrate. If you're going to uni you've still got a month or so until you start, so why not balance time in the sun with doing some last-minute checks on where your course can take you, so you're all clued up. And once you’ve sobered up, start getting your stuff together and preparing yourself. Here’s a list of things you might need for uni and some other stuff it’s handy to know before you start. Don’t forget to make sure your housing and money are sorted.
2) Come up with a new plan. If your grades are better than you’d been expecting, you can try to switch unis through UCAS Adjustment if you think there’s a uni that might now take you and which you’d really prefer. It’s only worth bothering though if you’re not entirely happy with the uni you’ve got or you know there’s something out there that would be genuinely better.
If you didn't get your grades:
Don't worry. You still have options. At least two of them:
1) Try to get a uni place anyway. Start with the unis where you had offers, but narrowly missed the grades. Phone and see if they’ll take you anyway. They just might. The next option is ‘clearing’: the mad scramble where unis who’ve got places try to match up with students who haven’t. Click the link to the UCAS site and check that you know what it involves to make sure you're ready for Thursday. Be careful in clearing though – don’t say yes to a place just so you can go to uni. Make sure it’s what you want to study at a place you want to study it.
2) Go next year or do something else. Once you have your grades, even if they’re not what you hoped for, applying to uni is much easier. So, why not take a gap year and reapply for 2019? It’s better than rushing into a course you’re not sure about at a uni you may not even have visited. You can look to boost your grades/qualifications in a gap year, with online diplomas, foundation courses or even re-takes of A levels. Or look at other options like apprenticeships or school leaver schemes.
In any case, if you're disappointed with your grades, you can get them re-marked. It might be worth it if your teachers are also surprised. They'll be able to help you with this process.
Top tip: Once the grades are in, take some time to chill out with your mates. Take a trip with your friends from school, organise a day out, or just have a BBQ – it might be a while before you get another chance.
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