Help is at hand for students who don’t get the A-level grades they expect as results day draws nearer.
The University of Cumbria, which as a campus in Lancaster, has recorded a video offering helpful tips and advice for students who will go through Clearing as they look to secure a place at university.
Helen Fleming, the university’s Director of Marketing and Recruitment, is featured on the seven-minute video which gives general advice to students who don’t meet the conditions of their first-choice university offer.
Helen said: “At this stressful time of year, with exam results looming, it is the perfect time for students to think about planning for the best, but being prepared if things don’t go to plan and they don’t get the grades they need.
“We find that many students have spent a lot of time planning and preparing to go to their first choice and that they haven’t spent any time preparing for what to do if they are not able to go to their first choice university.”
Helen gives the following advice to students who don’t get the grades they need:
Firstly and most importantly – don’t panic! It may feel like a complete disaster if you miss your grades for your first choice university, but it’s important to try to stay calm and have your back-up plan in place. Thousands of students are placed through Clearing every year, and for many students this option is actually better for them than their first choice. Just remember that there are a lot of options open to you, and you need to take the time to think rationally about what you want to do – it’s a big decision.
Call your first choice university/check on UCAS track. Even if you miss your grades, you may still get in to your first choice university. This depends on how many other people have got their grades, so check this out first. The important thing to remember is that you have built a relationship with your first choice university – and they will want to take you if they can.
Make sure you are happy with your insurance choice. If you miss your first choice university you are obliged to go to your insurance choice unless you ask to be released. Many students haven’t really considered this as a real option – so think about what you might do if you go to your insurance, where you would live and what plans you might have to change.
Check the UCAS website for vacancies and call the universities you are interested in. This is the part students worry about the most, but the people on the end of the phone want to help you so try not to worry. You should try to be patient – there may be a long wait to get through to some universities but you will get through in the end. Try to prioritise back-up options – which other universities are you interested in? Some courses will fill on a first come first served basis so you need to be organised.
a) Have your UCAS number handy
b) Have details of your results including GCSEs
c) Be ready to talk about why that course and why that university
d) Talk to the university yourself – we can’t talk to parents or teachers on your behalf
Don’t make concrete plans for the Friday and Saturday after results. You should remember that Clearing places may depend on interviews, you may need to go to an open day, or even have an audition.
The University of Cumbria's Clearing hotline (08080 024 024) will be open from 7.00am-7.00pm on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th August, 9.00am-5.00pm on Saturday 17th August and Sunday 18th August, and 9.00am-5.00pm weekdays from Monday 19th August.
It will be manned by staff and current students who will offer guidance around availability, necessary interviews, course details and signposting to other support services.