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What if I Don't Get the Grades I Need for University?

For a lot of students, it doesn’t bear thinking about, but let’s face it; sometimes things don’t work out as planned. If you’re one of the thousands of students who have just received their A-Level results only to be met with pages of disappointment, then this post is for you.

But before we go any further, we need you to do two things.

1. Stop beating yourself up about it.

2. Make yourself a tea or coffee and read the rest of this article.

You’ll feel better by the end.

If you're reading this in nervous anticipation of the big day, stop panicking – you haven't even got your results yet! You'd be much better off reading this post explaining everything you need to know about results day.

Can You Change Your University Course?

If you’ve only just missed out on gaining a place on your preferred course, then you should first of all enquire whether you can change your course for one that you do have the grades for. Remember, you won’t be the only other student who didn’t get the grades they were hoping for, so at this stage, university places are still being allocated and you may be able to take someone else’s place on another course.

Phone the university and ask them what your options are for changing courses. Even if you gain a place on your second choice course, there may be opportunities for you to switch back to your first choice over the course of your degree.

The UCAS Clearing System

If the university isn't able to offer you an alternative course, your next step should be to apply through the UCAS Clearing System. This system enables you to find available course places at universities all over the UK that you have the grades to apply for. Okay, so it may mean going to a different uni from what you had initially planned, but if you’re set on studying a specific course, this could be the perfect option.

To help you apply to university through clearing, you should speak to your study or careers advisor. They will be able to explain the process of applying through UCAS Clearing and help ensure that you complete the process properly.

Consider Retaking your A-Levels and Applying Next Year

If, despite your best efforts, you still can’t secure a university place, you might want to consider resitting your A-Levels and applying next year. It may mean that you only have to re-sit one exam, in which case you could study part-time at college, while working to save up for your first year. If this sounds like a viable option, then one piece of advice that we would give is not to become complacent with your studying. Just because you’ve studied the course before, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll get a better grade the second time round. You need to identify what went wrong the first time and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Look at Alternative Routes into your Career

If your intention was to go to uni in order to pursue a specific career, then why not consider looking into alternative routes into the job market? You could work in an entry-level position and still gain first-hand experience of working in the industry and have the opportunity to apply for promotions as your career progresses. You could also apply for apprenticeships or school leaver programmes, which allow you to train for a high-skilled job as you earn. By the time you would have finished studying, it’s completely plausible that you could actually be much further forward in your career than you would have been otherwise.

Above all, it’s important to remember that there is no correct time to go to university. People begin study programmes for the first time at all ages and a 4 year course goes by much quicker than you think.

And now breathe.

Hopefully after reading this you feel better informed about what options are available to you. The most important thing to remember is not to panic, you always have options.

Now enjoy the rest of that coffee.

Clearing: What you need to know

You can apply for university places after you get your grades through the clearing system. If you didn't get the grades you needed, this could be the route for you.

Learn more now

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