Just finished year 13? Applied to Uni and waiting for your exam results on 16th August?
Unless you are holding an unconditional offer, you will most likely be waiting to see if you get the grades required by your Firm (first) choice and Insurance choice Uni. Yet even if you do well, there are still a number of scenarios to bear in mind.
Here is an overview of what could happen with your great grades and, next Friday, we’ll cover what might happen if you get not-so-great grades. Please just remember that this is your journey and we can only give an overview so do always seek personal advice and guidance from a careers adviser before / on results day.
(a) Option to trade-up if you get better than expected grades
If you are a high achiever and get better grades than required by your Firm choice, you have the option to try to trade up for a place at a Uni with more demanding requirements. Your Firm choice Uni will hold open their now ‘unconditional’ offer whilst you look for alternatives, but there are some conditions attached to this special opportunity which is called UCAS ‘Adjustment’.
To start with, it’s optional so you need to make the first move by registering for Adjustment on UCAS Track, otherwise the assumption is that you will be going to your Firm choice as expected. Next, you will only have five calendar days to contact and secure a place at any Uni offering courses with more demanding entry qualifications.
UCAS doesn’t tell you that you are in Adjustment, and there aren’t any published lists of Unis with courses available through Adjustment so unless you have already done your research, you could be under a bit of pressure for those few days.
However, just like Clearing – covered in our other blogs – you are encouraged to research potential degree courses carefully, bearing in mind any accommodation requirements, and phone your chosen Uni to see if they will accept you. If they do, they will then tell UCAS, and UCAS will tell your Firm choice what you are doing. And if you can’t find a suitable alternative Uni and course during those five days, you will simply take up your Firm choice Uni as originally planned.
(b) Great grades, but now want to take a gap year
If you decide that you would prefer not to start higher education this autumn, but still want to go to Uni, you can take what is called a Gap Year. Those who choose this tend to either work or travel – or a combination of both. The income from any work is usually used to subsidise any potentially limited funds at Uni or to pay for gap year travel – or both.
If you wait until after you get your results and then try to defer entry for another year, we’d suggest you call whichever Uni is now clearly expecting you to go there and – depending on their reaction – either get an offer of a deferred place, or withdraw from UCAS completely in order to reapply next year.
Do please let the Uni know as early as possible so that they can offer your place to someone else and always bear in mind that – like those perhaps at home – they may not be impressed by your late decision. If they refuse your request – potentially because you don’t have any clear plans for what to do on your Gap Year – you’ll need to withdraw from UCAS and reapply with the year below by 15th January 2019.
Cost implications – On a positive note, you shouldn’t need to pay your tuition fees unless you have actually enrolled on the course – however, always check with the Uni when you call. And, a word of caution if you have already signed the contract for your accommodation as you may be committed to pay the rent even though you are not taking up your place at the Uni. The landlord will have lost a tenant and cannot guarantee to replace you even via late Clearing applicants so worth checking any possible financial implications of this.
(c) Great grades, but don’t want to go to Uni at all now
If you decide that you’ve made a mistake in applying and don’t want to go to Uni after all, give UCAS a call to withdraw your application. Ideally, it might be courteous to make – and act on – this decision long before results day seeing as it probably has nothing to do with the actual grades you get so that the Unis can switch your offer to someone else.
Just make sure you have thought it through fully and that you can explain to your teachers and family because they’ll want to understand why and what your plans are instead. We’ve covered taking a gap year separately above, but if you want to simply start work, there are plenty of online jobs boards. And if you want to look for an apprenticeship, there are opportunities – not all of which are advertised at the time you are looking – on the national Find an Apprenticeship website and locally on Careersnearhere.com.
(d) Great grades, but want to change to a different degree course
If you decide you would prefer to study a different subject, please give the Uni a call to get advice. You may well have to explain why you want to change course. And bear in mind there are no vacancies for that course, the new course may be in a different Faculty and with different, perhaps more challenging, entry criteria. It is never worth assuming that you can definitely change course and so you may need to instead seriously consider contacting UCAS to withdraw your application.
(e) Great grades, but now prefer your Insurance choice to your Firm choice
By results day, your Insurance choice Uni will already know that you met your Firm choice offer and so the place they were holding in reserve for you will have gone to someone else. Meanwhile, UCAS Track will have been updated and you will be committed to go to your Firm choice Uni. Consequently, the best you can hope for is that your Firm choice agree to release you into Clearing as your Insurance choice Uni will only be able to take you as a Clearing applicant.
As before, this decision most likely has nothing whatsoever to do with your actual grades and so it is far better to act on this earlier in the UCAS process. Contact both Unis so they can confirm they are happy with what you want to do.
(f) Decline Unconditional offer
If you choose to decline an ‘unconditional’ offer from your Firm choice Uni or – if needed – from your Insurance choice, you’ll go straight into the Clearing process – more on that in our other blogs.
(g) Great grades, but not enough for your Firm / Insurance choices
If you did well, but not quite well enough to get onto your Firm – or – Insurance choice degree, you could be offered an alternative course instead. If you turn down any ‘alternative’ offer, you will need to be in Clearing instead if you want to still apply this year. More next week.
And finally, …
If you actually get those great grades set out in your Uni offer, that’s it, you are in – Well Done! The Uni has to accept you, and everything will fall neatly into place. UCAS Track will be automatically updated and you can start expecting different communications to confirm your place and what happens next.
However, your Firm choice always takes priority and so please remember that it doesn’t matter if your Insurance choice offer has been updated until you know for definite the position of your Firm choice Uni.
Important – this is only a snapshot of what can happen. To get the full details, please take a look at the UCAS.com website and YouTube videos. There are also other detailed overviews on websites such as The Student Room, The Complete University Guide and Which? University. And in school, there will be teaching and careers staff who can support you with all of this in person – both on, and before, results day – so please discuss your personal circumstances with them.
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