Okay, it’s A-level results day. If you, or anyone you know, is holding on to grades that weren’t the ones you’d hoped for, read this.
Your life IS NOT shaped by your results. YOU go way beyond a few exam grades.
What makes you awesome isn’t about a particular institution, degree, or career. Those things don’t matter as much as you might think.
Your awesomeness is about what you do. Everything you do. And who you are.
You are the big picture. While your experiences are parts of you, they don’t define you, they only help build a definition of you in pieces. For every situation that makes you want to crawl under a rock, there are many others that will pick you back up and make your big picture more amazing than ever.
In short, you can still make things happen if you want it. Lower A-level results aren’t a fail. You may have failed to secure a firm offer to the degree you wanted, but that doesn’t mean you fail. Or, put another way, failure is fine. It means you work on what’s next for your big picture.
Stuff like this can make you feel deflated. But don’t let it make you give up. Start with some of the following:
1. Take stock and stay calm
Yes, it’s time to pick yourself up, but have a cup of tea first. Have a few cups of tea. Basically, let it go for a moment. Nobody expects you to jump up fighting straight after a shock. So relax. As hard as that sounds, try.
It is not the end of the world. If anyone acts like it is, they are wrong. Hope is not lost.
Imagine how it feels when you’re really dizzy. Your balance is thrown around at first, but you gradually improve. Give yourself time to feel a bit less dizzy.
2. Consider clearing options
Although some unis say they have no clearing places, that’s no reason to ignore what is available. Check my previous posts on clearing to make sure you are prepared:
Other clearing tips online today:
- Lucy Tobin outlines top tips from admissions tutors
- Live clearing & options chat at 11am (Telegraph)
- Clearing 2011, live advice, 14.00-16.00 (Guardian)
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again (Independent)
- The Student Room has lots of info on clearing
3. Only accept a place through clearing if you really want it and you think it’ll suit you
Just grabbing at places because you’re desperate to go to uni is a dangerous move. If you really are that keen to be in a uni, ANY uni, it’s better to find places that will guarantee you a place next year based on the grades you have. Then plan ahead for the year ahead.
Yes, even though tuition fees go up next year. Fees are more annoying than dangerous.
4. Consider your other options
We’re all thrown curveballs from time to time. You certainly won’t be alone in this situation. There are other routes into uni. And you may even decide not to bother with university at all. Correct, that IS an option. Seriously. A good place to start in checking out other options is notgoingtouni.com.
The Independent has information on distance learning options.
Also check out Ross Renton’s tips on what do you do if you don’t get a place at University.
5. Find support from understanding friends and family
Don’t go through this alone. And if it is too tough to speak to those you know, seek online forums of support. There will be a lot of people going through similar circumstances over at The Student Room, for instance.
UCAS also has an Exam Results Helpline, with people on hand to discuss your future options. Give them a call on 0808 100 8000. UCAS say, “Whether it’s questions about continuing into further or higher education, or pursuing different routes such as vocational learning routes, taking a gap year or finding employment, advisers are on-hand to offer free, expert and independent information and advice”.
6. Work on Plan B, even when you don’t have one
University and College Union says that tens of thousands of students who don’t get a uni place this year are “unlikely to have a plan B“.
So make one. Now you’ve considered your options, make a focused plan. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but it does need to be taken seriously.
Why? Because now is not the time to despair and grab at the first thing to fall into your reach.
Give it proper thought. Ask yourself some questions. What were you going to university for? How else can you get to where you want to be? Who or what can help you in your quest? Do you have any particular career or pathway in mind?
If you can’t answer all your questions, do some more research. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice as you do it. Nobody would be able to do as much as they do without other people.
7. Believe in yourself
It’s not always easy to pick yourself up after a fall. But don’t be hard on yourself. What’s done is done. If you did your best, there is nothing to worry about. You can shine brighter in other ways. If you know in your heart of hearts that you could have upped the effort, let this be Day One of making the effort you know you can give.
Good luck to you and may you have an amazing future.