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Supporting your child on results day

Results day can be a stressful time for everyone involved - not least your child. They’ll be all too aware that their grades are likely to have an impact on the next three years of their life and beyond.

A Level results day is usually in mid-August

Ensure your child is prepared for whatever happens and discuss a plan of action in ‘best case’ and ‘worst case’ scenarios.

On the day they’ll need to have their UCAS ID details and passwords handy.

Whatever happens, don’t rush them into making a quick decision. They’ll have time to think through their best options and decide what to do next. Don’t panic. Stay calm and supportive throughout.

When they get their results

As soon as they have their results your child will be able to log onto the UCAS website to check their offers. If they’ve already received an unconditional offer then they can go ahead and accept their place at their chosen university.

If they’ve had a Conditional Offer their application may have been accepted or rejected depending on whether they got the grades needed. If they only missed out by a narrow margin then advise your child to contact the university’s course team directly to explain the situation – there’s still a good chance that they may be accepted (even if the UCAS website states that their application has been rejected!).

If your child hasn’t achieved the grades they were expecting then they’re bound to be feeling disappointed. They may feel they have let themselves (and you) down. Avoid getting angry. The best thing is to talk to them and discuss a plan of action – there are still likely to be plenty of options open to them!

Applying through Clearing

If your child hasn’t been offered a place at university then they can enter into the Clearing process. Lots of universities will still have places available on their courses and Clearing gives your child a chance to secure one of them.

Clearing opens in July and stays open right through to October. The busiest time is around A Level results day. Universities all over the country will set up phone lines and will be waiting for your child to give them a call. Check each university’s website to find the contact details for Clearing.

When they call a university it’s likely that your child will have the opportunity to speak to a course tutor. They can explain their situation and have a discussion about why they’re interested in that university. It will pay off if your child has done some research into the universities they might be interested in as a back-up option before Clearing lines open. Remember that Clearing staff will need to talk directly to your child – you shouldn’t make the call on their behalf.

If your child has done better than expected then Adjustment allows them to ‘switch up’. Applying for a place at a university which has higher entry requirements. 

This is a new UCAS service which can help students to find a course that’s right for them. It involves the UCAS team pro-actively contacting students and matching them to available courses.

If your child missed out on the grades they needed to start a course then they may be offered the chance to complete a Foundation Year. This is a preliminary study year where your child will get lots of support. Helping them get to grips with the knowledge and study skills they’ll need to succeed at university. If they pass the Foundation Year they can progress onto the full degree.

Foundation Entry adds an extra year to their studies, which means it will take them four years to complete their degree in total. The advantage is that they won’t have to re-sit their A Level exams and can start university straight away. Your child can get student loan funding for the full four years.

Another option might be for your child to take a gap year. It gives them the ideal opportunity to take some time out, think more deeply about what they want from their future career. They can also gain some work experience, do some travelling, and apply to start university next year instead.