PUPILS across the country find out their A-level results today.
And on Thursday it will be the turn of GCSE students to see how they have fared. It is a stressful time for pupils AND parents.
A-level and GCSE results day is stressful for both pupils and teachersCredit: Shutterstock
Careers adviser Susan Smith of All Things Careers gives her guide on how to cope and what options are available for alternative paths
And it is a time that has been made more difficult by lockdowns, home-learning, bouts of self-isolation and the transition from sitting exams to teacher-graded assessments instead.
But if you do not achieve the results you hoped for, there is no need to despair.
Careers adviser Susan Smith of All Things Careers gives her guide on how to cope and what options are available for alternative paths.
- For more information and a host of free resources, see allthingscareers.co.uk.
BEFORE the results come out, every pupil should be patting themselves on the back for getting through their GCSE and A-level years during a pandemic – studying from home with less interaction with teachers.
Last night, A level students will have been pacing about like cats in anticipation of today. Today, make a choice to step away from social media.
Put your phone down. Ignore the mass hysteria going on in your WhatsApp groups. Ignore the noise of results day and stay calm in your own little bubble.
For GCSE pupils, I would advise putting a message out on Wednesday night wishing your friends good luck and telling them you are stepping away from social media for a day or so.
Parents, you can encourage this.
🔵 Read our A Levels Results Day live blog for the latest updates
A-LEVEL students can get on to the UCAS Track site – to find out if they have got their university place or not – from 8.30am (not midnight as some think).
If you’ve got your firm or conditional offers, then happy days, go off and celebrate. If you haven’t got either of these, then the most important thing is not to panic.
You haven’t got your results yet, so don’t make any rash decisions until you’ve got those from school. Read them carefully.
It’s OK to feel disappointed and sit with that feeling for a while, but the best thing to do is move on calmly with a plan.
Parents, it is important to stress to your child that their grades do not define them.
The best job you can do right now is to put the kettle on and make breakfast – it could be a long day ahead.
IF you haven’t got into the university you wanted, you can appeal over your results via your school. Let the university know you are doing this.
Another option is to sit the exams in the autumn. But think carefully. Your teachers know you best – are you really going to improve on the grade they have given you?
If you are set on going to university, then you will be able to go through Clearing.
On the UCAS site, Clearing Plus will suggest places and courses similar to your original choice.
Parents, you need to be on hand with your laptops and tablets to research any institutions your child likes the look of.
They then need to phone that university and get a verbal offer of a place before going back on to the UCAS site.
APPRENTICESHIPS where you spend 80 per cent of your time in a job and 20 per cent in the classroom are becoming ever more attractive options.
You can do them in all sorts of subjects, from digital marketing to law and HR. You get a qualification as well as a salary.
Research shows 79 per cent of employers do not look for a degree for their entry-level positions. They value resilience, enthusiasm and learning agility.
For GCSE students, if you don’t get the results you need to carry on for A-levels at your school, you can try to apply to another school or a sixth form college.
Many places now offer a combination of A-levels and BTECs, which are more vocational.
A GAP year is always a good option. Employers look for life skills – and you will get plenty of those once you leave school and navigate your own path.
But have a plan, whether it is getting work experience, paid work, more studying or travelling.
If you have a university place for this year, and you want to defer, they will ask what you intend to do with the time – so have your answers ready.
If you plan to study maths and physics courses, they will want you to keep your hand in learning during your gap year.
You can keep studying with hundreds of short, free, online courses from Future Learn, futurelearn.com/courses.
YOU don’t have to make a decision on your own. Your school is likely to have a careers adviser, so seek help.
You can go to your local council website and look up Education and Skills and you will find details of your free local service, too.
There are also independent services, such as my own, which have guides for parents and pupils for results days.
Parents, you will want to be on hand for advice, too. If you have friends in the field your child wants to go into, ask them for some words of wisdom.
Remember, things might not have gone the way you hoped, but you are not powerless.
Take a breath, think about what you want and make a plan.
And when you have, you can go back on social media and tell your friends.