What to do if your A-Level results are worse than predicted

US School Admissions

Even if your actual A-Level results are worse than predicted, you can still land a place at a British university through Clearing.

Clearing is a UCAS procedure that matches remaining university places with suitable candidates after A-Level results day. Interestingly enough, since yearly fees rose to £9000 in 2012, more Clearing places have become available each year. Even some of the leading Russell Group universities offer places to fill courses in science, social science, modern languages or archeology.

Here are 5 steps to take before and during to help you get into a UK university through Clearing

  1. 1. Act fast and be decisive

Clearing places are filled on a “first come first served” basis. Therefore, on A-Level results day, it is important to start ringing up universities first thing in the morning. Be prepared to hold a short interview on the phone and have a convincing pitch at ready, to explain to admissions officers why you would like a place on this particular course at their university. If your A-Level results are not significantly lower than your original predicted grades, it is always worth contacting your first choice university. For example, if King’s College London had issued a conditional offer provided you achieve an AAB A-Levels result, but you ended up with ABB, try calling the admissions office as soon as you have your results and explaining the situation: they might be willing to meet you halfway. Otherwise, your place will be automatically withdrawn by the UCAS system.

  1. 2. Make use of social media

In 2017,  non-Russell Group universities actively recruited students via Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. Take advantage of this information, but do your research!

  1. 3. Tailor your personal statement from the outset

Don’t rely solely on good grades: a strong personal statement plays an important role, and can really help your case during the Clearing process. Your academic interests have to match your preferred study field, and be backed up with tangible evidence and examples. For example, if you would like to study economics at university, you should talk about books and articles you have read in leading publications and any lectures, seminars of summer schools you have attended. You could also talk about specific events and personalities that have inspired you to make this academic choice.

  1. 4. Choose more accessible courses at leading universities

During the Clearing process it is better to choose undersubscribed departments, since there are always more “free” places left, even in the top universities. For example, it will be easier to get accepted into a course such as “Economics and European languages” than “Management and Business”, as modern languages courses are generally undersubscribed.

  1. 5. Choose new courses

Each year universities introduce new degree courses, looking to fill new demands both in science and humanities. Examples of newer disciplines include Digital Culture, Emerging Economies, International Development, Climate Change and Environment. And if you are more interested in courses that will broaden your general knowledge, such as European Studies and Creative Arts chances are high that you will get a place in one of the most prestigious universities, even with less than stellar A-Levels or IB results.

Get in touch with us if you need help polishing your personal statement or practising your interview skills