Thousands of students await their A-level results, but how many of them are prepared if they don’t get the grades they were after? I know I certainly didn’t have a results day back-up plan – did you?
Tomorrow around 300,000 students will find out whether or not they’ve bagged a university place. Some will get their first choice and others will get their insurance choice, but many won’t meet their offers and will be entered into the second-chance system, Clearing.
Within just a few days, many prime places will have been snapped up through Clearing – so the pressure’s on to choose a new course and university, fast.
So it’s no surprise, then, that our latest Which? University research shows that 37% of students who went through Clearing last year felt pressured to take the first offer they received.
Oliver Mower, a second-year student at Bournemouth University, told us:
‘It can seem like a hectic race to get the course you want. When I began searching for courses, the only thing I wanted was for the whole process to be over.’
Getting the grades
This time four years ago, I was nervously waiting for my own set of A-level results. But, like many of my peers, I was completely unprepared for the unthinkable – that I might not achieve my predicted grades and get into my top choice uni. In fact, I was one of many whose back-up ‘plan B’ uni required the same grades as my top choice.
Luckily I did make the grade and didn’t need a plan C to fall back on, but last year over 55,000 students accepted a place through Clearing – a not-so insignificant 12% of all university admissions for 2012.
Plan C – Clearing
Our survey revealed that many students felt unprepared to apply for a new course through Clearing. Three quarters weren’t sure what to expect when phoning universities with Clearing spaces, 38% said they ‘panicked’ and nearly half admitted they accepted a place without doing as much research as they wanted.
And while it’s good to hear that the majority of students who gained their place through Clearing were satisfied with their university and course one year on, they were significantly more likely to regret their choice of university (17% versus 9%) or course (15% versus 9%) than those who met their original offers.
This makes getting the right information and advice at the right time – and quickly – all the more essential. For example, here’s what you shouldn’t do in Clearing:
We want to know what your experience was like on results day – did you have to go for a plan B or C? How do you think students can be better prepared in case things don’t go their way – and what other options are there?