As you very well know, A-Levels are released on Thursday (15th August) next week, Good Luck! And, while I'm all sure you're keeping your fingers crossed and hoping for the best, it’s good to have a plan in place for all result eventualities.
Your A-level results will be available first thing at your school or college while UCAS Track will also be available from 8am on the day which will show you whether you've been accepted to either your firm or insurance choice.
What happens next?
If you achieved the grades to your firm choice university - congratulations! You’re off to your first choice university in the Autumn and can relax and enjoy the last month of your holidays. You do not need to do anything further and when you log into your UCAS Track it will display your Confirmation letter confirming your place.
If you didn’t make the grades to your firm choice university, check your UCAS application via Track. You may not have achieved the grades needed for the course you were applying to, however the university may have still offered you a place. If this is it the case, you will receive a Confirmation letter in Track and need not do anything further. You may also be given the choice of a slightly different course or a place the following year by your chosen university - you are not obliged to accept these and have five days to reply to a changed course offer.
If you didn’t make the grades of your firm choice, but did make the grades of your insurance choice, congratulations to you too! You’re also off to university in the Autumn. You do not need to do anything further and when you log into your UCAS Track it will display your Confirmation letter confirming your place.
If you didn’t make the grades to your insurance choice university, check your UCAS application via Track. You may not have achieved the grades needed for the course you were applying to, however the university may have still offered you a place. If this is it the case, you will receive a Confirmation letter in Track and need not do anything further. You may also be given the choice of a slightly different course or a place the following year by your chosen university - you are not obliged to take these and have five days to reply to a changed course offer.
If you didn’t manage to get the grades of either of your university choices you can use Clearing to apply for a place that’s still available. Once you've received your grades and have confirmed that neither of your choices have accepted you a clearing number will appear against your profile in UCAS Track.
Universities provide a list of course vacancies they are looking to fill - The Telegraph has already published its list of all university vacancies ahead of results day whilst you can also search for vacancies via UCAS. If a course and university catches your eye call their admissions office. You'll need your UCAS ID, Clearing number and results to hand. The admissions office will also be testing you to see whether you're a suitable candidate, so you'll need to prepare something in advance to answer their questions, such as showing how you are interested in the course you are applying to.
If the university like you they will verbally offer you a place and you can verbally accept. You then need to formally confirm this online by clicking on the "Add Clearing Choice" button on your UCAS track and entering the course details. The university will then see that you've applied to them, and if they accept you you'll received a confirmation in the "Choice" section of UCAS Track. If your course isn't accepted, the "Add Clearing Choice" will reappear and you can apply for another course. You can be informally offered any number of places, however you can only enter one choice in Track and if the university accept you you have to accept the offer.
Once results are out available university vacancies will constantly be updated on the UCAS and Telegraph website depending on which courses are filling up.
Because there's so much work to be done on the day, if you had an especially tough A Level exam period, and think you might not make the grades you need, you may want to plan what you do on results day in advance. Use the vacancy lists mentioned to look for courses and universities that you like the look of, note down their contact details and think of a few questions you might want to ask them. At the same time, prepare answers to questions that they might ask about you - why they should accept you to their university, and what you can bring to the course. Then, on the 13th, when your results arrive you can phone you first choice university as soon as your results come in and be the first to nab a place.
You'll want to phone the university as soon as possible so remember to take to school a notepad and paper, a phone, and the notes that you've made in advance so you can phone up your top choice universities as soon as possible.
You'll also want to leave the week after your results free so that, if you do have to go through Clearing you can attend your chosen university's open day - they are the best way to get a feel for the place and make sure that you want to spend the next three (or more) years there!
This year, universities will also be able to make direct contact (via an email invitation with the option to sign up for the service) with unplaced students, enabling providers to offer them a place on a relevant course, once you’ve received their results. Look out for this email if you'd like to sign up for this service.
Get everything ready in advance so you can be the first on the phone. Photograph: Garry Knight via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
If you are one of the unlucky ones who has failed to get onto a university course and you are unhappy with your grades you might like to go back to college and retake some of your A Levels.
In re-sitting you can then apply for a university course through UCAS to start in the Autumn of 2016 and hopefully you'll have higher grades and a better chance of gaining a place. If you have a university in mind, check that this is possible, as some universities specify that your exam results have to have been achieved in one sitting. Furthermore, universities might ask for slightly higher grades with a further year, for example a university might ask for ABB or AAB with re-sits.
A further year at studying A-Levels will also give you the time to take part in more activities outside of the classroom, perhaps even go on a gap year, which will give you lots to talk about on your new personal statement.
Having received your results you might feel as though you didn't do as well in an exam as you expected, and in turn this has led to you failing to gain a place at your favoured university. If this is the case, you may want to think about appealing the result.
Speak to your school to ask whether they think this is a suitable option - if it is you can send an enquiry to the exam board via your college.) You can't make an enquiry yourself unless you are an external candidate.) This enquiry, known as a Stage One Appeal, will normally result in a re-mark or re-moderation by the awarding body. If you and your college are still unhappy with your result they can lodge a secondary appeal with your awarding body, known as a Stage Two Appeal. A Stage Two Appeal must be made within two weeks of receiving the outcome of the first enquiry about the results.
What if I've done better than expected?
Firstly, congratulations! If you got better grades than you were expecting and exceeded the conditions of your firm choice you can try and find an alternative place through Adjustment. If you are eligible for Adjustment you can register through UCAS Track. After A-Level results come out you'll have five days to look for a different university - there are no vacancy lists for Adjustment, instead you can just phone up the university you are interested in to see whether they'll accept you. However, as you get your results earlier that A-Level students you might be able to do some research in advance and have a list of who you would like to call. To secure an Adjustment place you have to have received an alternative offer through UCAS before the five-day period ends, and if you don't receive an offer you're place will remain with your current university.
Top photo by Matthieu Joannon via free Unsplash License.