Predicted grades and University Help PLSWatch
I'm so sorry you're in this situation. I understand how frustrating it is when teachers refuse to see your potential and underpredict your grades. I'm going to get into your questions and provide my own opinion along the way.
Is it possible I can still do HSPS at Cambridge or Political Science at 4 other Russel group University's although i haven't even met their contextual offers?
Absolutely! I've seen cases where unis give offers despite students not reaching their offers. This typically happens if they've got more spaces to offer or they oversubscribe to begin with because not every offered student will make them their firm. This is risky, but it's doable.
Can someone please provide alternatives on what I should do?
The alternatives are:
- You do not apply to uni this year, take a gap year and apply to Cambridge with the next batch
- Apply with this batch, but have say 2 Russell Groups and 3 safety universities?
- Apply as normal and work really hard to get into Adjustment, which is like Clearing but is for if you get better grades than expected
Personally, I'd say the first and second options are much more reliable. Why do you not want to take a gap year? I feel this may actually help you, given you want to sort out your mental health situation (and you may even go into first year with a better headspace, thus improving your chances of doing well). The third is quite risky, but if you do feel that teacher have underpredicted you for certain, you could do this.
Can someone also please explain Clearing and how it works please and if it's a good option?
Clearing happens when universities have extra spaces on their courses. You go into clearing when you have been rejected from your firm (1st choice) and insurance (2nd choice) universities because your results were lower than expected OR you choose to decline these places yourself. Cambridge would not really be in Clearing since it is a very competitive university, but Russell Group universities do make appearances from time to time. You can find out more about Clearing on the UCAS website or right here on The Student Room.
Please speak to a higher authority if you feel you were discriminated against as a result of your mental health. Teachers should be making their decisions solely based on academic ability and evidence from it, not personal life events.
I hope it all works out!
There was an article in the Guardian today which was posted on here stating that top universities were unlikely to accept near misses this year due to grade inflation and that next year will be the same. Generally in previous years most universities have made offers to and accepted students 1 or 2 grades below their published grades. For that reason it is impossible for anyone to make any predictions.
However whilst your grades disappoint you they are still very good and you wont have problems getting into universities although it might not prove to be the ones that you were looking at.
Generally students are advised to apply to 1 or 2 universities above their predicted grades 2 at their grades and 1 below. In your case perhaps you should apply for 2 at AAA 1 or 2 at AAB and 1 lower. It is quite likely AAB universities will accept you on your predictions.
If you were to get rejected by all your universities you could apply through UCAS extra when it opens in Feb.
As far as your mental health issues are concerned the Teachers should be assessing you on your achievements. If you are unhappy with the way your school is treating you could look at going elsewhere to complete your A levels. Your referee could mention your mental health issues having affected your predicted grades in his reference