What to do on Results Day
So, you wake up bright and early on the morning of the 15th August (6th of August if you're in Scotland). After you've had your breakfast, you set off out to collect your results. But hang on, you need to take a few things with you!
- Mobile phone (charged and topped up)
- Writing paper/notepad
- Calculator (in case something goes wrong and your modules aren't added up)
- Results slips from AS (ditto, and also in case you need to phone a uni and plead - so you can say "but I got X on these modules")
- UCAS/uni letter (so you've got all your info including UCAS number handy, and also so you don't panic thinking "was my offer AAAA or AAAa?")
- Contact details for your firm and insurance
- Copy of personal statement and your reference if you have it
- Contact details for your referee (and, if you think it's likely you'll go into Clearing, permission from your referee to pass on their details to universities)
- Cheque book, for bribing university admissions staff... Obviously not - but you will need it to pay for any re-marks you need doing. The sooner they are sent off, the better.
Buying a copy of The Daily Telegraph before you get your results is a good idea. The Daily Telegraph will have the official list of all vacancies available in Clearing this year (2013 entry), although other newspapers may publish smaller regional guides or run adverts for a specific university. The listings are also available online, but if you're entering Clearing it's actually more useful to browse through the newspaper version. That way, you're more likely to notice similar or interesting courses that won't show up on the UCAS Course Search.
Once you've opened your results, there are a few things that could happen. Try not to panic, no matter what happens to you.
You've made your firm offer!
Congratulations! Get excited! Go and tell your friends. Phone your Auntie Mabel. Tell everyone!
But do not phone your first choice University unless they've asked you to, in which case you will have been told this in advance. Leave the lines free for those who have NOT met their offers and are trying to find out if a University will still confirm their Offer.
It does sometimes happen that your UCAS Track doesn't get updated in time for Results Day morning, so don't be too concerned if your Track is still showing 'Conditional Firm'. It should update later in the day, but if it still hasn't by Friday morning, phone the University to find out what the issue is.
The day Track shows your place is confirmed, UCAS will put your AS12 letter in the post and will send you a copy by email. Read it carefully and follow the instructions. Some Universities don't need you to do anything else to confirm your place, but others do. The letter explains exactly what you are required to do. Either way, keep the letter safe, as you'll need it as proof for bank accounts and things like that. Start a folder for all the stuff you receive from the University.
You can also read the TSR Freshers' Pack to check you haven't missed anything.
The Adjustment Period
If you have met and exceeded the requirements for your Firm Offer, you can consider looking for a place at a different University asking for higher entry grades.
This is called 'Adjustment' and is optional. Exceeding your Offer means that you must meet and exceed the conditions that are stated in your Firm choice offer. So, if your firm offer is ABB and you get AAB then you are eligible for Adjustment, but you are not eligible if you get ABC or ABBB. Further examples of eligibility for Adjustment can be found on the UCAS website. Remember you do not have to give up your Firm offer in order explore what else might be available to you in Adjustment.
If you do want to consider the Adjustment route, you need to first register through Track. Anyone who meets their conditional firm offer will have the option to register for Adjustment through Track, but it is down to the universities you approach to decide whether or not you are eligible.
You will have up to five days from Results Day, or the date on which your CF became UF (i.e. your conditional offer became unconditional), whichever is later, in which to negotiate an alternative offer. This time includes weekends, and in any case cannot be extended beyond 31 August. So, if your CF doesn't become UF until 29 August, you have only two days to look for another place and have this confirmed by the uni. While you are looking for a place through Adjustment, your original Firm choice place will be held for you.
UCAS will not publish listings of courses available through Adjustment, so you will need to call individual universities and look at their own websites to see if they are offering Adjustment places.
When you speak to the Uni, explain clearly that you are looking for places through Adjustment, not Clearing. If a university offers you a place through Adjustment and you accept it (this is usually done over the phone), they will update your status on Track with the new Uni and course code, and your original firm offer will be automatically cancelled and cannot be retrieved. Therefore, make sure you've thought it through and decided this is what you want to do before accepting an Adjustment offer! UCAS will also send you another AS12 letter in the post to confirm the place.
If you don't receive any offers through Adjustment, or you registered for Adjustment accidentally, then after the five days have elapsed you will automatically be confirmed at your original Firm choice.
If you have registered for Adjustment, your current firm uni will be aware of this and may contact you to enquire what your plans are. If you have registered by mistake (people do...) it is worth letting your firm uni know this.
More information about Adjustment can be found on the UCAS website.
You've missed your Firm offer
Don't give up completely as there's still a chance they might accept you. First of all check UCAS Track. If Track says your place is 'Unconditional' then you're fine, relax, celebrate and leave the phone lines clear - do NOT phone your University 'just to check'.
If Track shows that you've been unsuccessful, you can't really do anything more. Most Unis will not allow you to plead your case if they have already firmly rejected you. With places so competitive, it's really only worth asking them to reconsider if you have new information to provide - ie. you just missed out on your grades by a few UMS marks or intend to appeal any grades. If you do phone the Uni, remember to keep calm, and however stressed you feel, don't be rude or aggressive - the person who answers the phone isn't responsible for your low grades, and is more likely to want to help you if you are polite.
- Extenuating circumstances: if anything serious prevented you performing at your best in your exams (such as the death of a close relative), your school should have told the Exam Boards about this at the time. There is therefore very little point in pleading this once the results are announced. However 'unfair' it may seem, if you have still missed your grades by a wide mark, most Universities will not be interested in hearing any further 'excuses'. If you do decide to try talking to a University to plead your case, then you will need to have your teachers on hand to verify your circumstances for you; and it will have to be a serious issue involved, not just 'I had an argument with my girlfriend'. Be aware that Universities are understandably not keen to take anyone who has unresolved grief issues or who are recovering from a serious mental illness. It may be better for you emotionally to take a year out, retake and reapply.
- UMS marks and remarks: Universities only receive module and overall grades, not UMS marks. So if you are only a couple of marks away from fulfiling your offer, then it may be worth letting the University know to see if they will reconsider.
- If your school is submitting some of your exams for a priority re-mark, it is essential to get in touch with your Universities to let them know. See the note about re-marks below for more information.
If you missed your offer by some margin and both your Firm and Insurance have already rejected you, then your time will be better spent talking to Universities in Clearing, rather than begging your Firm/Insurance choices to reconsider.
If Track still shows your offer as Conditional then you'll need to phone the University because it suggests they are yet to make a final decision on your application. The Hotline phone number may be listed on the Uni's website, or might have been sent to you in advance; if you haven't got a special number then just phone the Uni's normal number, and make it clear you are an existing offer holder, not a Clearing applicant.
If they still haven't made a decision, ask when they expect to decide. Tell them any information which may help your case, such as high module marks or missing out on your grades by just a few UMS marks. Keep calm, remain polite - the person answering the phone may have no control over this process. [The Universities are not supposed to keep people in limbo for too long, so if you think they are being unreasonable and causing you to miss out on places elsewhere via Clearing then contact UCAS for advice.]
If your Firm offer accepts you with your missed grades
If TRACK shows your place as Unconditional despite missed grades, you have a place.
Congratulations! That's it. You'll just need to go home and await your AS12 email and letter in a few days.
You missed your Firm offer, and they won't accept you with lower grades
You now have several options and your school/college will be able to talk you through what these are (ie. relevant to your circumstances etc), and these include accepting your Insurance place, retaking A levels etc and reapplying for next year. See the entries about Insurance offers below.
You didn't get your Firm offer, but you meet your Insurance offer
Nice work! You can still go to Uni! If this shows as Unconditional, you don't need to do anything further now. Again, this may take a while to update on UCAS TRACK. If this is still showing as Conditional 24 hours after Results Day, you should phone that University to find out what the hold up is.
Remember, at some point you will need to change your Student Loan using the Change of Circumstances (CO1) form which can be done online, but this can wait a few days so just go home and wait for your confirmation letter.
You can also read the TSR Freshers' Pack to check you haven't missed anything.
If you miss your Insurance offer
Check UCAS Track to see if you've been accepted with lower grades. If your Insurance still says your offer is Conditional then they haven't decided yet - phone them up like you did your Firm choice. They may still accept you with the lower grades. If they accept you, then that's great! If they don't, then you'll enter Clearing.
Realising that neither your Firm or Insurance University will now accept you can be very hard, especially if it seems that everyone else around you is jumping up and down and shrieking 'I'm going to Uni!' - and you now possibly won't be. Your school has seen students in exactly this position before, you aren't alone and it doesn't mean that 'my entire life is over'. Go and talk to your teachers at school/college, they know your circumstances best and are there to help you with advice about what to do next.
You missed your Firm or Insurance offer but the Uni has accepted you for a different course
This will show up on Track as UCC - i.e. 'unconditional changed course' - with the new course code.
You have five days to decide whether to accept this alternative. You don't have to. Read the course description carefully and be certain that it is still a course that you want to do. You will receive a letter from UCAS (the AS12C) which sets out your options, though you can accept or decline this offer on Track even if you haven't yet received the AS12C. If you decline the changed course offer, you will either go to your Insurance (if applicable and they have accepted you) or into Clearing.
If you are happy with the changed course offer, you do have to accept it on Track and must do so within five days. Whatever you do, don't just ignore it!
If both your Firm and Insurance choices make you a UCC offer, you can then choose between them, or decline both and go into Clearing.
I want to defer my place!
If you don't already hold a deferred offer, once you have had your place confirmed you can contact the uni directly and ask if they can defer you. Have some reasons handy (e.g. what are you going to do in your gap year?) and it should be OK. It's best to do this as soon as you know you want to defer, but theoretically you can do it right up until the start date.
Your university may not agree to this, although most will. If the university won't agree, then you have the option of withdrawing from UCAS for this year and reapplying.
I don't want to go to University after all
There's lots of choice in Clearing, but maybe you just can't find the right course for you. Or maybe you want to have a gap year and resit a few units.
Whatever the reason, you don't have to go to Uni if you don't want to.
I'm already holding an Offer for this year
You'll need to contact the uni and tell them that you don't want to go. You should also update your application in Track so that UCAS knows that you aren't going to uni this year. Remember if you do this you won't be able to use Clearing and so will not end up at university anywhere this year.
I've got a deferred place for next year
I don't currently hold an Offer
If you missed your firm and insurance offers and they're not accepting you, then this will apply. You'll automatically be entered into Clearing, should you wish to do that. But if you don't want to go, then you don't have to do anything. Just don't apply anywhere through Clearing and you won't be going.
If you want to officially withdraw from the UCAS scheme, you can do so. Simply use the withdraw button on UCAS Track, but be certain it is what you really do want to do.
A note about re-marks
If you think your results look a bit odd you may wish to send some units back for re-marking. There is a charge for this, although sometimes your school will pay. If your overall grade does change then the fees get refunded. However, remember your grades can go down as well as up! You should discuss whether to ask for a re-mark with your teacher first, as they may think that you did deserve the results you got.
If you've missed your offer, you will need to tell the uni that you are having a re-mark when you phone them, and you will need to apply for a priority re-mark. If you only choose a standard re-mark, then it will take too long, as you need to meet the conditions of your offer (even if it is for a deferred place) by 31 August. It is essential that you let your uni know immediately if you are requesting a priority re-mark (some have a form on their website for you to do this, so check). Be prepared for the possibility that they will say that even if the result comes back in your favour before 31 August they won't accept you. It is worth arguing the point as good practice among universities is to honour the 'by 31 August' deadline. Some universities may still accept you (or offer deferred entry) if your re-mark results come back later than 31 August, providing you told them in advance. When you phone them, ask if they are willing to hold your place for you while you wait for the re-mark. If possible, get them to confirm their deadline date in writing to you.
If you wish to have re-marks of some of your units but have still been accepted at your university of choice then ask for a standard re-mark, not a priority re-mark. Leave this system free for those who really need it!