The key to keeping a clear head on your results day

Results day is an infamously nerve-racking time for all students.

For many it will be a great experience as they receive confirmation that all of their hard work has been worth it and they’ve secured the grades required for their first choice university.

But for others it can bring disappointment.

If you don’t get the results you were expecting it can feel like the end of the world – but don’t panic because whatever your marks there will still be options open to you.

Although it is easier said than done keeping calm really is key. You need to stay focused with a clear head to be able to consider your next steps properly and you may need to make quick decisions if you are offered alternative university places.

Remember that you are not alone, thousands of other students up and down the country are likely to be going through the same experience.

Being prepared can help so when you go to collect your results, make sure you have your paperwork and UCAS reference numbers to hand in case you need to make some calls.

Firstly, if you’ve just missed getting the grades you need for your first choice of university or college course then it’s definitely worth contacting them directly and asking if they will still accept you.

Some will make exceptions and will accept students with lower marks. If they can’t give you a place on the course you originally applied for, they may offer you a different one.

Check the situation with your insurance choice – if you’ve got the grades you needed then you will have a place and if you haven’t then they may still make you an offer. 

Always keep an eye on Track – the name of UCAS’ online tracking system – where you can see how your application is progressing.

If you haven’t got a place at your firm or insurance choice and you still want to go to university – you can use Clearing which is available through the UCAS website from results day. 

This is how universities and colleges fill any places they still have.

Clearing vacancies are updated regularly by universities and colleges and if you don’t find the course you’re looking for straight away, it’s worth trying again later. 

It may be that you can find the same course available somewhere else with lower entry grades or you might want to consider a different subject.

If you are flexible with the location, then that is likely to increase the choices available. 

You don’t have to stick with your original idea, so speak to an adviser at school about what else you could do or contact the university to find out more about a different course that you may have discounted before.

Once you’ve found a suitable one, you can then contact the university or college directly to see if they will accept you.

If you still want to go to university but you can’t find a course or your heart is still set on your first choice, then look into whether you can re-sit your exams and re-apply for next year.

University is not the only option so think about other paths you may not have considered before.

Vocational training may be a quicker route to your chosen career and provide valuable on-the-job experience.

If you are still unsure what to do then consider a gap year to buy yourself some thinking time. 

You may find your priorities change.

This can also be a good chance to get some work experience or learn new skills.

Finally put it all into perspective, you could only do your best and as long as you did that everyone will be proud of you, no matter what happened on results day.