So, here we are. You’ve done your A-Levels and got the results and unfortunately, you’ve missed the grades to get into the university of your choice. But now is not the time to freak out or wallow. It’s time to take action, and we are here to help you do just that.


Is University really where you want to be?

If the immediate answer to this question is a yes, then good for you. There are ways for you to get there. First, check that you have been given an official offer. UCAS Track is the website to go to. On there, you can check whether you have been accepted to any of your chosen universities, even though you may have just missed the grades. If not, then don’t worry, clearing is your next port of call.

For those who are confused, clearing is where you find other vacancies on a course you may like when you haven’t met your required grades. This is a great opportunity for those who feel that university is where they want to be. But make sure that you are positive about this as you may not get your preferred course or university.

And if none of this works in your favour, then retaking may be the best option. Whether redoing the year at college/sixth form or redoing the course online while working, you have the chance to make amends and get the grades you need for the courses you want.

What else is there?

If University is not where you want to be then don’t fret, you have many other options at your fingertips. If you want to start gaining experience in the world of work in a specific field, then an internship or apprenticeship may be the route for you. Apprenticeships are great opportunities for those wanting to study for a qualification while getting a salary. You will split your time between working and studying. You can either go for a higher apprenticeship (level 4/5), which lasts for 3 to 4 years, or a degree apprenticeship (level 6/7), which lasts from 3 to 5 years where you can work and get a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree on the side. It’s a great opportunity to earn money, gain experience and get qualifications as well.

Websites like www.ratemyapprenticeship.co.uk are great places to search for an apprenticeship to fit you. The other option is an internship, where you can gain experience for a particular job, whether it is through work shadowing or a long-term placement. Some may be unpaid, so make sure that you can do the placement without a salary before applying. And of course, if these options aren’t appealing to you, a gap year may be what you need.

Now, a gap year is a great opportunity for you to get some money, go travelling, get some experience and take some time off to reflect on what you want to do. A gap year can look great for an employer; you will have more experience and skills that will be valuable for a workplace. But before taking that gap year, decide what you want out of it. Then your time will be more focused and fulfilling, as you can create a plan for the year around these goals. Whether you aim to take a break from studying, go travelling or even write a book, decide what you want to do and take steps towards reaching your aims. It will make your year a lot more rewarding.

If you want to travel, but don’t have the funds, finding a volunteering job may be a good way to see the world and do some good work. It is also great on a CV. The website, www.gapyear.com has volunteering jobs listed and offers other information for how to plan your gap year.

And don’t forget that whatever you decide, follow your heart. Do the research, take some time to think and focus on what’s best for you. Losing out on your A-levels is not the end of the world. Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school, Benedict Cumberbatch failed his A-levels and Sir Alan Sugar only has 1 GCSE, but that never stopped them. So, don’t let it stop you.