A result! How to get your university of choice

How did A-Level results day go for you yesterday? If you met the conditions of your offer, your first choice will have accepted you, of course. But it may be that you exceeded your offer and you would like to consider doing a different course. You have up to five days to swap on to another, without your original place being jeopardised, using the process of Adjustment in UCAS. However, many courses requiring higher grades will be full.

If you didn’t meet the offer of your “firm” choice, your “insurance” choice will have accepted you — if you met theirs. But do you want to take up your insurance place? Some students think about re-sitting exams, but many universities accept only results that were gained over two years of study, not ‘three, so do check to see if there is any point in this strategy.

If you feel that your exam results don’t reflect your actual performance in the exam, it may be a good idea to get your papers re-marked. Your school will arrange this for you. It is important to realise that your exam results may go up or down as a result of a re-mark and so you should only request a re-mark if you are sure you feel you deserved more.

The re-mark can take up to 18 days depending on the exam board. However, even if the re-mark meets the university offer, that university may still not be able to give you a place. But it may offer you one on a similar course or the one you want the following year. To maximise your chances, let your university know that you are having the exam re-marked and notify it of any grade changes by August 31.

If your grades do change for the bet-ter and you have accepted your insurance offer or another offer in Clearing, you will have to ask the university to release you so that you can accept-your original offer.

Some universities will accept you even if you missed a grade. When you log into Track on UCAS, you may see that your chosen university has con-firmed your place, despite your lower grades. If not, you may need to call to negotiate your place. It may be that the university cannot allow you on to your preferred course but that there are others on which it would be happy to offer you a place.

You can also shop around via Clearing, the process universities use to advertise and fill their spare places. The list of unfilled places is on the UCAS website and published in The Telegraph. Places available change daily, so keep checking. Phone the universities in which you are interested; tell them your grades and see if they will give you a place. You may be inter-viewed over the phone by an admissions tutor.

Are you flexible about what course you study as long as you go to your chosen university, or would rather see if other universities can offer you a place on a similar course? You are not limited to the subject for which you originally applied, as long as you meet the entrance requirements for the course you are now applying for. Your nerves are bound to be on edge, so get some support. UCAS offers free advice and your teachers can help too.

In most cases, getting a good degree is what is important. The subject may be of less relevance, depending on the field you want to go into. That said, to get a good degree (normally a 2:1 or above), you need to be able to remain interested and motivated for the whole of your course, so don’t take a place on a course if you are not really inspired by the subject.

Natalie Lancer is the founder of NatalieLancer.com and MyUniApplication


GRADES NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED ?

  • Make sure you have access to a quiet room with a reliable phone and internet connection
  • Ask for a re-mark if you think your grade could go up but be aware it may go down
  • Inform your university what is happening about your re-mark to maximise your chances of them holding a place for you
  • Find out what courses are available on Clearing and consider a variety of options
  • Don’t make any decisions lightly—speak to a university guidance specialist

Source: myuniapplication.com