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August 18, 2016

Let down by your A-Level results?

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A-Level results. Typing at a laptop

Collecting A-Level results is over, what’s next?

The newspapers are full of happy faces, but what about the students who didn’t get the results they hoped for? Your A-Level results can be disappointing, but they may also provide an opportunity.

What do you do if you didn’t get your grades?

If you didn’t quite make it then remain calm and consider your options:

  • Call the university. If you just missed your offer or insurance choice, then you may still be accepted by the university. Speak to an adviser and find out. If the answer is no, then you may be offered an alternative course.
  • Go through Clearing. Universities want to fill any empty spaces that they have, so by using the UCAS search tool, you have the opportunity to find a great course, or university, that you might not have previously considered. This may mean reevaluating what you want to study, or the path you want to take, but think about what your priorities are and then make a decision.
  • Retake your exams and apply again. If you have your heart set on a university and particular course, then applying again next year is always an option. Many people find themselves taking their exams again and there’s no shame in going back to give it another go.
  • Consider an apprenticeship. Many young people realise that going to university isn’t for them. Apprenticeships are an alternative to higher education that won’t leave you in debt and let you earn and learn at the same time. Some companies also offer the opportunity to get your degree whilst you work for them.
  • Remember you’re an individual. Comparing your A-Level results to what your friends, or family, have achieved, isn’t a wise move. Try not to make any decisions based upon where your friends are going to study either. Instead think about what course, university, or alternative might be right for you.

Think carefully

As you consider your next steps, make sure you choose an option that excites you. Picking the first course you find in Clearing, may mean that you give up on what you really want to study at university. It’s also important to be open to all the opportunities available to you. Fixating on one university can mean that you miss out on a fantastic learning and social experience elsewhere.

Is there another option?

Not getting the A-Level results you hoped for, can feel like the door to university slamming in your face. If retaking your A-Levels fills you with dread, then you might not realise that a different option is available to you. Access to Higher Education Diplomas are nationally recognised qualifications, that act as an alternative to A-Levels and can help you to get that place at university. Once you’ve completed your course, you can apply to the majority of universities.

Follow in the footsteps of Access to Higher Education Diploma graduates, including Nneka Akudolu, who was working as a waitress and didn’t know how to build a career without A-Levels. Nneka wanted to see where a degree could take her and after studying an Access course, she secured a place at Cardiff University. Now a Criminal Barrister, Nneka credits her course with giving her the confidence to apply for university and start a new career.

Study your way

Returning to A-Levels or a classroom, may feel like you’re going backwards. Access to Higher Education Diplomas allow you to keep your options open and they’re designed to be as flexible as possible. Unlike studying at a local college, Access to Higher Education Diplomas can be completed through distance learning. This means that you work from home and complete your studies online. A personal tutor will support you throughout your course, by phone, email and Skype.

Selecting this study option, will make it possible for you to get a job whilst you learn and gain that extra experience to go on your CV. It also ensures that you’re not restricted by college term dates. You can complete an Access to Higher Education Diploma in as little as 9 months, but you also have the freedom to study at your own pace and can take up to 2 years.

Pick up new skills

An added bonus of taking an Access to Higher Education Diploma, is that you’ll develop the skills and knowledge you need to hit the ground running at university. Units on study skills include how to write university assignments and study independently, so you’ll be confident before you get there.

Is there any funding available?

If you’re 19 or over, you can pay for your Access to Higher Education Diploma using a 19+ Learner Loan. This means that you won’t need to pay anything upfront, and will only need to start paying back your loan, in affordable monthly instalments, once you’re earning more than £21,000 a year. If you go on to complete your degree, your loan will be completely wiped out.

Not getting the A-Level results you wanted, may knock your confidence, but think about where you want to go from here and what you need to do to get there. If you’re committed to building a bright future for yourself, then remember that there’s no single route to get there. With the right attitude, nothing can stop you.


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