A Level results day is an important date in the academic calendar for anyone with hopes of going to university. If you get the results you need, it’s typically off to the pub to celebrate. But if your results are someway off what you needed to secure a place on your degree, panic sets in.
First thing’s first, there’s really no need to worry.
You’re not the only one in this position. Many students find out they’ve fallen short of their university entry requirements come results day. And what you’ll find reassuring is the vast majority who continue to pursue university at this point find a place.
So, you don’t need to feel that undergraduate life is spiralling out of reach if your results aren’t up to scratch. There are ways of continuing on this path, whether it’s by going through UCAS Clearing or by studying to get the grades you need.
UCAS Clearing Explained
Most students have heard of UCAS Clearing, but the varied ways available courses can be secured makes it unclear as to exactly how it works.
Simply put, UCAS Clearing advertises empty spaces on university courses. When the students who meet the required grades accept the place they’ve been offered, the spare ones get advertised in the system. Then, any student who for whatever reason doesn’t have a place on a degree they want can apply.
So, your university dreams aren’t dashed because there’s likely somewhere offering the course you want to study.
You can bag one of these available spots in a few ways. First, call the university you wanted originally. In many cases, they are open to chatting with students who applied to study with them.
Talk them through your situation, why you think you didn’t make the grades and what you would do to rectify it if given the chance. Universities understand the pressure students are under. So, if you have all the other qualities they are looking for, they will often look past the fact your grades weren’t spot on.
Secondly, you could see if your UCAS points meet the requirements for certain degrees instead. Or your third option would be to apply directly through the UCAS Clearing system. To do this, you need to submit an application to UCAS before you can shop around for available courses.
When you find one you like, you need to talk to the university and get permission to add their course to your list. From here you would wait for an official offer once they’ve reviewed your application.
You also shouldn’t panic if the course you want isn’t listed right away. Students who are given offers from multiple universities will decline the ones they don’t want. These free spaces will then be added to UCAS Clearing, ready for interested students to apply for them.
Can I Apply?
Students in many situations can utilise the UCAS Clearing system. As different scenarios can result in you not having secured a place at university, or at least one you want.
In most cases, the students applying to UCAS Clearing had a conditional offer that they failed to secure with their A Level results. If this isn’t you, don’t stress, UCAS Clearing is also open to you if you:
- Submitted your application after the closing date of your desired course
- Applied but haven’t received any offers
- Were given an offer but decided against it and now you want to find another course
This makes UCAS Clearing open to students in most situations. So don’t worry, university is still very much an option for you.
For further details on the UCAS Clearing process, please visit our UCAS Clearing page.
How Do I Know UCAS Clearing Is The Right Option For Me?
UCAS Clearing is great for you if you’re open to studying your course at a new university, or you’re happy studying a different course to the one you originally wanted.
This doesn’t have to be hugely different. If your exact course isn’t available, you could opt for a joint honours’ degree. This is where two or more complementary subjects are coupled together in one degree. You learn your subject in conjunction with others, broaden your knowledge and often the scope of jobs you can apply for once you qualify.
For instance, psychology students can study psychology with sociology, anthropology, counselling or criminology if standalone psychology isn’t available.
However, if you have your heart set on a particular course, university or city, a secondary option may not cut it. In that instance, UCAS Clearing likely isn’t for you. Thankfully, it’s not your only option.
What Else Can I Do?
If settling for a degree or university that isn’t what you wanted originally isn’t an option, you can get what you need for your original choice with further study.
Now, this doesn’t have to mean going back into a classroom.
Online courses provide a cost-effective, quick and efficient way to meet the entry requirements for your degree. You can either re-sit your A Levels online or meet the requirements through an Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma.
By choosing to re-sit your A Levels online, you remove the set pace of your studies. This time around you won’t have to go to set classes or follow a timetable that’s has been determined by someone else. You study as and when you see fit. Which makes part-time work and childcare far more manageable for students juggling these with their education.
However, if you need to retake multiple A Levels, you would probably be better off studying an Access to HE Diploma. These alternate Level 3 qualifications provide subject and vocation-specific knowledge and skills. So much so that they can go in place of three standalone A Levels! You would just need to make sure your chosen university accepts them.
That way, you can study one course instead of two or three and cut down the time it takes to get your grades. Access to HE Diplomas can be studied over two years or completed in as little as 6 months. So you can be finished and ready to apply to university by the time the next round of UCAS applications become available.
You can study courses like an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing) which helps you access a specific career. Or go for something like an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Computer Science) which can lead into a broader range of roles.
Enrol Online Today
If your A Level results weren’t what you’d hoped and you want to get what you need for your first-choice degree, we can help. Stonebridge Associated Colleges is one of the leading UK distance learning providers.
Find out more by viewing our online A Levels, or by clicking to view our Access to HE Diplomas below. You can also discuss our courses and the degrees they lead to by chatting with our Course Executives online, or by calling 0121 392 8288.