As a parent, you may be dreading your teen leaving home for university but in the back of your mind there is that niggling worry – what if they don’t make the grades?
Don’t add to their stress- be calm and prepared behind the scenes. Here are some top tips for A Level Results Day.
Pre- results day
Try not to have a holiday booked on results day
If possible it would be helpful if you could take the day off work - if they get their grades it’s unlikely you will see them as they will be out celebrating with friends but if things haven’t gone quite to plan you will be there to support them
Research and collate a list of alternative universities that offer similar courses with the grades they require Help gather the information they’ll need for the call including their Clearing number, UCAS Personal ID, details of their qualifications (including A-level, AS-level, GCSE and equivalent results), login details for the UCAS Hub, a copy of their personal statement and their notes on the course and university – clearing moves very fast with students calling early on results day so it really is worth taking the time to research options beforehand
You can’t make the call for them, but you can them get ready by running through their answers to possible questions, discussing questions they could ask, reading their Personal Statement with them, and keeping them calm. They should treat it like a job interview and prepare themselves thoroughly.
Make sure mobile phones are fully charged and have a notepad and pen to hand
Results are emailed or available online from 8.00am from schools or colleges
The UCAS Hub opens at approximately 8.15 am and is where students are kept up to date with their application's progress (it does not show A’Level grades). The UCAS Hub will show if decisions have been made by the university choice. If UCAS has been notified, you can expect to see the following changes to offers on the UCAS Hub:
Unconditional - the place on the course has been confirmed. It could be their firm or insurance offer, or both. If they are holding at least one conditional place and the requirements have been met the offer will change to 'unconditional'. Details on what to do next will be sent either from UCAS, or directly from the university. For example, some institutions will ask you to provide evidence of your qualifications.
Unconditional Changed Course (UCC) - the necessary grades have not been achieved but the university has proposed a similar course requiring lower grades. They may also offer an alternative start date, such as deferred entry. A decision has to be made within five days to decide so discuss the opportunity with the university in question.
Unsuccessful - not been accepted.
If the grades needed for both their firm and insurance offers have not been achieved they can find out if they're eligible for Clearing by logging into their UCAS Hub record. Their clearing number will appear in Hub automatically. This is the code they use to secure any future course offer they want to accept.
As soon as they have their clearing number and their list of university and course choices, they can start calling university Clearing hotlines. If they're asked to apply to a course and want to take up the place, they need to add the course as their Clearing choice in Track. They can only enter one.
Not all universities and not all courses are available in Clearing, so it's worth checking before your child calls their chosen university.
What if they haven’t made the grades?
Most importantly make sure your teen realises they are not alone and you do not show your disappointment. Be positive, every year thousands of students in the UK find a university place through clearing . They can appeal against the results but remember results can go down as well as up. If they opt to appeal then they must contact their school who will log it with the exam board but must contact their university immediately who will hold the place.
Ask your teen how you can best support them. Whether it’s cooking them their favourite meal, allowing them to shout and scream at you, letting them lock themselves away for a few hours, a hug- just be there so when they are ready to focus and decide their next steps
Alternatives to university
Unfortunately, some students may receive significantly lower grades than expected, and perhaps they need to think why? Be realistic, did they work hard enough, or were the subjects they studied just not right? Are they really cut out for university or college?
There are so many alternatives, including:
Additional reading : Kids left home? Embrace the empty nest!
Listen to our podcast episodes on Empty Nest: Before they go' and 'When they've gone'
Visit our resources page which has a collection of useful links from 3rd party websites and content and more tips for empty nesters.
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