A-Level results day 2021: what to do if you don’t hit your grades

Your late teens are a tense and exciting time, and one of the biggest days for a lot of people is A-level results day. With A-Level results day 2021 lingering not far away (the 10th August, in case you weren’t aware), many students are stressing about what happens if they don’t get the grades they want or need. If that’s you, then read on for some A-level results day help!

1. Go through clearing 

UCAS clearing advice
Source: Surrey Comet

If you’re looking to go to university but you’ve not got the grades, you can register for UCAS clearing. This service lets you see and apply to university courses with remaining spaces.

Thousands of students use clearing each year, and it’s really simple to do. To be applicable for clearing you must:

  • be applying after 30th June
  • have no offers (or none which you would like to accept)
  • have not met the conditions of your offers
  • have declined your firm place in Track

For more information on how to use Clearing, and what it will cost, read UCAS’ Clearing FAQ here.

2. Resit your exams 

how to resit your exams
Source: English.com

It’s quite pricey, but you can resit your A-Level exams for about £85, or you can redo the year at your college or sixth form centre.

Alternatively, if you think the course or subject wasn’t right for you, why not swap it out for a similar course (i.e swap English Literature for Language, or Classics for History)? You could even swap from an A-Level to a BTEC or Higher National Diploma if you’d like to, as these are more coursework based.

3. Take a gap year 

gap year advice
Source: Forbes

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about the people who took a gap ‘yarr’, but have you considered one? During this time you could work towards a qualification, gain experience or find out more about what you want to do after school.

Plus, every now and then, work experience can develop into a full-time job and prospective career!

4. Look for apprenticeships 

Source: Darlington College

Apprenticeships are the best of both worlds. You earn whilst you learn, and end up trained in whatever field it is you’ve chosen to go into. These are great options for anyone, regardless of your A-level grades, but are especially handy if you’re not able to or not sure about university.

A lot of big companies run apprenticeships, too. You could bag yourself a journalism apprenticeship with the BBC or a technical apprenticeship with BMW.

You can also get a degree apprenticeship if you’re after the degree qualification!

5. Do a foundation year 

A lot of universities offer their degrees with foundation years. This is an additional year at the start of your course which sits between the skills of A-Level and an undergraduate. You will receive the same qualification and funding, but just have to attend university for an additional year.

You may be offered these already, but if not, contact your universities and ask.

6. Attend an FE college 

Further Education colleges are like the bridge between university and college. Unlike college or sixth form, you are expected to be responsible for your own studies and time, but unlike university, you are usually living at home and the courses are shorter and cheaper.

7. Apply for an Access to HE Diploma 

Access to HE Diploma
Source: QAA

Access to HE Diplomas are for those who have not got the qualifications to go straight into university, or those who have been out of education for some time. They provide a foundation in the knowledge and skills needed for university, and you can opt for a specific subject focus (i.e Access to Law).

Most Access to HE courses are a year long, and some have the option of distance or evening learning if you are working.

8. Do an HND 

HND advice
Source: Uni Compare

An HND is a Higher National Diploma (or a HNC – Higher National Certificate). You can get these qualifications in a wide range of vocational areas. HNCs are Level 4 and take one year to complete full-time, HNDs on the other hand are Level 5 and take two years.

You can use a HND for entry to a 2nd or 3rd year of a degree course, or as a qualification in its own right.

9. Apply for a Foundation Degree 

These courses are designed and delivered with HE providers (universities and colleges) and are vocational. They’re two year courses and are usually taught at a university or college. Their goal is to combine study with workplace learning.

10. Most importantly, don’t panic

a-level results day help
Source: BBC

It may well seem like the end of the world, but it will be alright! There’s lots of options for further education if that’s what you’re after, or you can just start job searching straight away. We know you’ve tried your best, and that’s what matters!

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