Expert advice on your ‘A’ level results by Laraine Kirkham
by Laraine Kirkham
Congratulations to all of you who have achieved the grades required for your first choice to university. However, don’t call up the university to confirm your offer unless they told you to do this in advance - leave the line free for someone who hasn’t met their offer and is worrying. Ring your family and friends first!
UCAS will put your AS12 letter in the post the day after UCAS Track has updated your status. This letter confirms your place at the university and your course choice. This means you are now definitely going to university but do make sure you keep the letter in a safe place, as you will need it to open a student bank account before the start of term, and possibly other things that require you to verify that you have a place at university
If your results are higher than those required for your firm offer, you are entitled to look around for a university that carries higher entry requirements. This is called ‘Adjustment’ and is an optional process and you will need to register for Adjustment through UCAS Track. You will have 5 days to do this from the date your conditional offer is changed to an unconditional offer in which to find an alternative place. This time includes weekends, although cannot be extended beyond 31st August 2012 anyway. While you are in the Adjustment process, your original firm choice will be held for you, so don’t worry if you do not find anything suitable within the 5 day time frame. My results are not what I expected
You are bound to be disappointed but the first thing to do is check your status on UCAS Track which allows you to check how your university applications are progressing. To access it, you’ll need your UCAS application number and a Track username and password. These will be the same username and password you used to apply to UCAS. For more information on Track see ‘Changing your UCAS application’. If it still shows your offer as conditional, phone the university and check whether you have been accepted. If you cannot find a special clearing number for the university, ring their admissions office.
However, if your ‘firm offer’ turns you down then check with your ‘insurance offer’- your back up plan. If this proves to be unsuccessful as well UCAS send all eligible applicants a ‘Clearing Entry Form’ (CEF) as soon as A level results are available.
If you are eligible but do not receive one, contact UCAS on 08701122211 and have your UCAS application number to hand. Also check out their website: www.ucas.com for vacancies and courses by region, university or college. Their headquarters are geared up to deal with thousands of calls from youngsters trying to confirm places in August each year. Clearly you might have to be flexible, but make sure you have an open mind about what course you do and where you do it. In addition to this the Telegraph newspaper is the only paper that publishes the full list of Clearing places available so pick up a paper just in case. Above all, don’t despair. There will still be many opportunities for youngsters to get offered places in smaller institutions who often rely heavily on clearing to fill their places. On the other hand apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to university and are most definitely worth considering.
I want to defer entry to university
Do contact your university to ask them if you can defer-don’t assume that you can. There is much to gain from having a gap year and trying something completely different. And I do not mean serving behind a bar in Ibiza! Very often universities and employers will look carefully at how productive you have been during your time out. To get the best out of a gap year it should be planned and structured. Volunteering can be a great way of gaining experience, maturity and direction. A useful contact for this is www.mvonline.gov.uk or www.lattitude.org.uk and they will offer more information on how to spend a gap year. The other advantage of working during your gap year is to try and save towards your spending money whilst at university.
Apprenticeships - earn while you learn
Clearly for some youngsters the thought of incurring huge debts can be daunting and is clearly a massive worry for youngsters and parents alike. If you’ve got a good idea of where you want to go with your career and like the idea of earning while you learn, an Apprenticeship could be for you. You’ll get top quality training, developing skills and gaining qualifications on the job. Apprenticeships are available in more than 190 roles across a wide variety of industry sectors. These range from accountancy and business administration to construction, engineering, manufacturing - and many more.
Generally, an Apprenticeship takes between one and four years to complete.
See www.realworkrealplay.info or www.apprencticeships.org.uk or call 08000 150 600 for more details.
Finally, try to avoid the temptation of either re taking A levels unless you are absolutely sure you will get the grades next time, or accepting just any course to get you to university. There are so many degree courses to choose from and not all of them will lead you into a job at the end of the 3 or 4 years. Again, be proactive in assessing the success rate of jobs after completion of the course. Universities will give you this statistical information. Always choose the subject that will give you the best opportunities for employment, if you can! The more information you have at your finger tips, the more likely you are to make the right decision for you and your future and don’t forget to look into apprenticeships. Good Luck!