Guide to A Level Results Day

It’s results day – what do I do?

Before you leave to collect your A level results from your school or college on Thursday 14th August (5th if you're in Scotland), we recommend you take a few things with you:

  • Pen or pencil
  • Notepad
  • Mobile phone
  • Calculator (in case you need to add up your module marks)
  • AS results
  • UCAS letter (that has your UCAS number on and other important information such as your conditional offer grades)
  • Contact details for both your firm and insurance offers
  • Copy of your personal statement
  • Copy of your reference (if you have it)
  • Contact details of your referee

If you are concerned that you may have to go through Clearing, it’s a good idea to pick up a copy of the Telegraph newspaper, as this is the only paper that publishes the full list of Clearing places available.

You will also probably find it easier to browse places in the newspaper rather than searching for them on the UCAS website.

I’ve met my firm offer

Many congratulations! Now you can phone your family and friends and tell everyone the great news! However, don’t call up the university to confirm your offer unless they told you to do this in advance – leave the line free for someone who hasn’t met their offer and is worrying.

If your status on UCAS Track isn’t updated yet, don’t panic – it can sometimes take a while. If it hasn’t been updated by the end of Monday, ring the university and check everything is ok.

UCAS will put your AS12 letter in the post the day after UCAS Track has updated your status. This letter confirms your place at the university and your course choice. This means you are now definitely going to university (unless you decide university isn’t the right step for you anymore).

As soon as you receive your AS12 letter, read it through carefully and check whether there is a slip at the bottom that you have to fill out and send back to the university. Some unis ask you to send it back; some don’t, but the instructions will tell you if you need to or not.

Make sure you keep the letter in a safe place, as you will need it to open your student bank account before the start of term, and possibly other things that require you to verify that you have a place at university.

What about the Adjustment Period?

If your results are higher than those required for your firm offer, you are entitled to look around for a university that carries higher entry requirements.

This is called 'Adjustment' and is an optional process.

If you wish to consider this path, you will need to register for Adjustment through UCAS Track.

You will be given 5 days from the date your conditional offer is changed to an unconditional offer in which to find an alternative place.

This time includes weekends, although cannot be extended beyond 31st August 2012 anyway.

While you are in the Adjustment process, your original firm choice will be held for you, so don’t worry if you do not find anything suitable within the 5 day time frame.

You can read more about the adjustment period here.

I’ve missed my firm offer

Hopefully you are not too disappointed by this news – it is still possible your university will accept you.

The first thing to do is check your status on UCAS Track – if it says you have been accepted, then great! Go ahead and celebrate and remember to leave the phone lines clear.

If UCAS Track still shows your offer as conditional, phone the university and check whether you have been accepted.

If you cannot find a special Clearing number for the uni, just ring their admissions office.

Some institutions may not allow you to put a case forward to bargain with them and will have already rejected you. If UCAS Track shows you have not been successful, then there isn’t much else you can do.

However, do be prepared for the event of selling yourself to your chosen university by pointing out your good AS grades, and informing them of any mitigating circumstances.

If your firm choice does not accept you with lower grades, try not to dwell on it too much – it’s disappointing and upsetting, but there are still options and you will definitely end up going to university one way or the other.

I’ve met my insurance offer

This is a similar situation to meeting your firm offer – you don’t really need to do anything at the moment, just wait until your AS12 letter arrives through the post.

Again, UCAS Track may take a while to update your status – you can phone the university to check your confirmation if this takes longer than 4 days.

One thing you will need to do in the near future is to use the change of circumstances (CO1) form for your student loan. You can download the form here, but it’s best to wait for your AS12 letter before doing this.

I’ve missed my insurance offer

Check your status on UCAS Track to see if you’ve been accepted with lower grades – if not, then ring up the university and ask for their decision. If they still accept you, wonderful! If not, you will enter the Clearing process.

I’ve missed my firm or insurance offer, but the university has accepted me on to another course

If this is the case, you will see 'UCC' on your UCAS Track page (this means 'unconditional changed course'), along with the new course code. You will have a period of 5 days to decide whether to accept this change of course.

You will receive an AS12C letter from UCAS that will explain your options to you, although you can still accept or decline the offer on UCAS Track before you receive the AS12C letter.

If you choose to decline the offer of an alternative course, you will either go to your insurance offer (if applicable and they have accepted you) or go into Clearing.

I want to defer my offer

If you do not already have a deferred offer, you will need to get in touch with the university as soon as your place with them is confirmed and tell them you wish to defer your offer.

You should contact the university as soon as you’ve decided you want to defer your offer, although you can do this any time up until the start date of your course.

It’s a good idea to have your reasons why you want to do this ready in your mind, or written down somewhere, e.g. you want to take a gap year to do some volunteering work, or learn a language, etc.

Most universities will be ok with this, although if they are not, you are probably best off withdrawing from UCAS and reapplying next year.

I’ve decided university isn't the right step for me

Although there are heaps of other choices available through Clearing, it’s possible you may not find a suitable place, or maybe you wish to retake some of your A level units to try and get into a better university.

I already have an offer for this year

You will need to contact the university and tell them you no longer wish to attend. To do this, simply fill out the appropriate section of your AS12 letter slip, and mail it back to them.

This means you will be withdrawn from UCAS entirely and will not be able to go through Clearing and therefore won’t be able to attend university at all.

I have a deferred offer for next year

Again, you need to inform the university you no longer wish to keep your place.

You are not allowed to reapply through UCAS if you are currently holding a deferred offer, so if you don’t tell them, you will not be able to go to university either this year or next year.

I’m not holding an offer

This only applies if you have missed both your firm and insurance offers. You will be automatically entered into Clearing (if this is what you want),

However, if you don’t want to go anymore, you don’t have to do anything at all. As long as you don’t apply to any institutions through Clearing, you won’t go anywhere.

Also, you can just withdraw from UCAS completely, either by contacting them by phone or using the Withdraw button on the UCAS Track system.

My results don’t look right – is it worth getting my papers remarked?

Be aware that there is a charge for getting your papers remarked, although sometimes your school will pay for this, so ask them first before writing any cheques.

You will be refunded the money if your grade changes, although it’s important to remember that your grades can go down as well as up.

It’s worth considering talking to your teachers first, as they may feel the results are right and the marks are what you deserved to get.