Results day will be next week, 13 August 2015. A levels and school is through and you are left with no choice but to wait for your results. Some students will get the exam results required for the course and university they chose. Others’ grades will be higher than what they hoped for. A few of them may even want to change their mind. And there is this group whose grades are not as good as they wanted.
If you are part of the last mentioned group, you have thought of what course you would like to go to and at which university but your grades are low for them. You are in a sad predicament; however, there is still so much that you can do about it and improve your situation.
Know Your Chances and Choices
Now that the results are not yet out, you need to know your predicted grades. They are your only basis right now on whether you will qualify for the course and university on which you have set your sights. Your teachers can give you a projection of what grades you will get in your A-levels, based on your AS results. These are the predicted grades which can give you an idea of whether you can meet the grade requirements of your preferred university and course or not.
Usually, there will be very minimal discrepancy especially if you have made your initial choices based on your level of academic ability. Whatever the case may be, if your predicted grade misses the required grade minimally, it is up to you to convince the university that you can do better and raise your grade. An example of such is when the required grade is AAB and your predicted grade is ABB.
You need to prepare for your application, especially in the personal statement and interview, the reasons why you have gotten a low grade, a low exam result or a bad grade in the past. If your deficiency is significant, all the more you need to tell the university why you got any of these. Acceptable reasons may include personal circumstances, especially those you have no control of.
Nevertheless, there is more to university application than predicted grades. As hinted earlier, also important in it are your GCSE grades and your personal statement. You can even use academic references to help you support that you have demonstrated more academic skills and suitability recently. But then again, all these do not take away the fact that predicted A-level grades and your actual performance at AS level are the major consideration used by universities in making offers because it is their way of ascertaining your current level of academic ability.
Further, it is not only the university from which you need to earn confidence. More importantly, it is yourself which you need to convince that you do can do it. Otherwise, it can be that you may have chosen the wrong university for you and you need to change it to one to which your academic abilities can cope.
As mentioned, it is not only the university which you need to convince that you are suitable to it. You should ask yourself whether you really are. If the grades you can show to the university are way below their typical offer, it might be that you are not really fit for the university. Reassess yourself objectively and realistically.
If you do not make the marks that the university is looking for, the university you have chosen may be not the one for you. The required grades set in the admission process are set by universities to correspond to the study loads and academic standards that they expect students to take on and meet.
Just think about it and be really honest to yourself, even if it would be hurting to admit that you have fallen short of your own dreams. And besides, it is not the end for you; you are merely starting your journey. Visualise and realise what will happen to you if you do not meet the set requirements but still be given admission. Do you think you will last one or two school terms there? While it will last, what kind of academic performance and university experience it would be for you? That is what exactly the university tutors would not want to happen and that is why they have set the admission requirements. So, it might be better to explore other options and find a university that best suits you.
Make Your Move
The answer you may have given yourself in the previous step is may be that you are still going to pursue your first choice university even though you will fall short of the grade requirements. Here, your next step will depend on at what particular step of the application process you are in. It is either you are yet in the stage of thinking about which universities you will apply or you are holding an offer which you reckon you cannot meet. Based on these situations here is what you can do next.
If You Believe You Can Up Your Grades
Depending on the disparity of your current grades and your target grades, you still have the ability to make it closer. And depending on the feasibility, you can still pursue the grade requirement set by your preferred university. First, it is important to get the help of your teacher in determining whether you can still make it and how you can do so.
Together, you and your teachers will identify the factors contributing to your academic performance and whether these indicate that you have the ability to make up and the time to do so. For example, maybe the direct or indirect cause of one or more low grades is ill health, family problems or laziness so you actually may have the ability to catch up.
If you believe you can bring your grades up to the required level, you can include mentioning it in your personal statement. There, describe how you intend to raise them to the necessary bracket. Explain how you may have underperformed especially considering the contributory factors mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, show that you own up to them because this would also support your determination to take responsibility and will be able to carry out the plans you intend to do to get a higher actual grade.
Do not forget to show evidence of your academic ability to support that you indeed can achieve what you have set for yourself and deserve to be given an offer by the university. These can include good GCSE grades and strong academic references which you will include in your personal statement which should be excellent overall.
On the other hand, a consistent difficulty on the subject may indicate that you may not really be able to turn things around. Thus, you may really need to look for another university which set lower admission requirements and thus also have lower expectations of students’ academic ability.
Choose From Among Your Firm, Insurance and Other Choices
Having low grades that fall short of those required for admission to your first choice university, you now realistically think that you may not get the grades you want come results day. You may even consider, whatever the results may be, whether you will eventually really be capable of the demands as a student there. Thus, you can consider accepting a lower offer from another university.
In deciding on which offer you will choose, again, look at your academic ability and how confident are you about improving it which includes how you think the university is convinced and given you the offer. Also, you should look on the size of the disparity between your predicted grades and what is required by the higher offer.
Whatever the case may be, always remember that not meeting the higher offer should not be a problem; that is exactly the reason why there is a firm offer and an insurance offer. If you want to pursue the higher offer, it is up to you; however, why not consider other offers? Many students have chosen these and still become happy and successful in their academic life and eventually their professional life.
If your grades do not make it any of your offers, you can still get new ones with the UCAS Extra. To start it, all you need to do is decline all your current offers. Then, you are allowed to apply for a course that has not yet been filled and you can do it over and over. However, you must be careful with this procedure because you cannot reapply to the universities you have declined and might end up with no offers at all.
If you are not successful with Extra, you can go to Clearing where some under-enrolled universities, among other things, lower their entrance requirements for mostly under-enrolled courses. These universities and courses may not be exactly what you originally prefer but you may find one mix that you can like, especially when you get to know them more.
If you are dead set on going to a university and course but your predicted grades is not enough, you can always reapply next year. Even though you have to wait another year, this option can put you in a better position to succeed in getting an offer for your preferred course at your preferred university.
You can put yourself in a better position using the one year of waiting. When that time comes, your actual grades and not predicted ones will be used in your application. This means that the university and you yourself has a concrete basis to an offer. Further, if your actual grades do not meet your preferences, you can retake, given the time.
More so, you can improve your qualifications and suitability to the course and university you prefer by using the year to get experience in a job, travelling and other activities which are relevant to your choice subject. Showcase them in your personal statement and the rest of the whole application process as an improvement in your maturity and additional experience towards your passion and suitability to your preferred course.
While Waiting for the 13 August 2015 Results
Now while you are waiting for your results, you can prepare what your specific response would be under different outcomes. Take this waiting time to think of and make clear what actions you would want to take for each possibility.