After years of studying hard, scribbling revision notes and late-night swotting, exams results day is nearly here.
Nick Davy from the Association of Colleges is on hand to help, offering students his top tips on how to handle A Level exam results day and the important decisions that follow:
•Confirm your place: Once you’ve received those all-important results in UCAS Track, make sure you contact the college or university to confirm your place.
•Seek out advice: If you haven’t quite got the grades you wanted, don’t panic! There will be more places on offer this year. Talk to your local college and ask for advice about all the options out there or get into the clearing system. You may be able to re-sit exams or find a different university or course which is suitable for you.
•Be clear about clearing: Even if you’ve got the grades you want, you can still go through clearing to go to a different university or college. If you’re going through clearing, make sure you have everything you need – namely, a telephone, a clearing guide (use the UCAS website or there will be one in most newspapers) and a notebook and pen. You’ll need them for calling universities and colleges to find out what is on offer depending on your grades. If you have grades above your firm offer you can use UCAS Adjustment to trade up to another course/university-college.
•Consider all the options: If you’ve changed your mind about taking the route to university, investigate your local college. They offer technical and professional qualifications at a range of levels such as BTECs, NVQs, City and Guilds and also Foundation Degrees or Higher National Diplomas, for example. These qualifications often include working directly with employers on placements so it is an excellent experience.
•Research apprenticeships: If you’re looking for a higher education opportunity but without the university tuition fees, it may be possible to find a Higher Apprenticeship. This is a great way to study for a degree level qualification whilst working in a real workplace environment. Many local and national companies now offer apprenticeships. Colleges can help you find the right one for you and you can search for apprenticeships at www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship
•And finally, don’t get disheartened. Whether you have received the grades you wanted or not, there is something out there that is right for you and will help to get you on your chosen career path. Don’t panic, look at all your options, do your research and get advice from reliable sources such as careers advisers. There’s also the option of taking a gap year and maybe getting some work experience before going on to further study
Nick Davy is Higher Education Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC) which is the membership organisation for colleges in England.
He concludes, “This may seem like a really scary time as you are moving on to something new and unfamiliar. Think carefully about what you want to do, stay calm and make sure you have access to information about all the options available to you, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your future.”
Further education colleges provide high-quality technical and professional education and training for young people, adults and employers. They provide over three million students with valuable employability skills, helping to develop their career opportunities and strengthen the local, regional and national economy.
Colleges are inspirational places to learn because education and training is delivered by expert teaching staff in industry-standard facilities. From basic skills to postgraduate degrees, colleges offer first rate academic and vocational teaching, in a range of professions including business and finance, engineering, hospitality, IT, construction and the creative arts.
Find out more at www.aoc.co.uk