The Student Room Group
Student working at the Cole Museum
University of Reading
Reading
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Should I take a gap year?

So results day happened as we all know, and I got better grades than expected (AAB). I was excited to get into the University of Reading for computer science, especially since I live here and it's a huge saving on accommodation and food etc. However, I recently checked online and turns out I missed an amazing opportunity to study at Nottingham with the same grades I had through clearing. I could take a gap year and reapply to better universities, or just continue with my course. What should I do?

I was also wondering maybe I shouldn't because what if the offer was so low only because of the high grade boundaries this year had.
I just dont know what to do, UoR isn't ranked very high for computer science, and my grades arent immensely great that they'll take me to Warwick or something, but the fact that I missed the chance in clearing to upgrade my university is really haunting me.

Some guidance on this would really help me, I've been losing sleep over this.
Original post by Real_Guy
So results day happened as we all know, and I got better grades than expected (AAB). I was excited to get into the University of Reading for computer science, especially since I live here and it's a huge saving on accommodation and food etc. However, I recently checked online and turns out I missed an amazing opportunity to study at Nottingham with the same grades I had through clearing. I could take a gap year and reapply to better universities, or just continue with my course. What should I do?

I was also wondering maybe I shouldn't because what if the offer was so low only because of the high grade boundaries this year had.
I just dont know what to do, UoR isn't ranked very high for computer science, and my grades arent immensely great that they'll take me to Warwick or something, but the fact that I missed the chance in clearing to upgrade my university is really haunting me.

Some guidance on this would really help me, I've been losing sleep over this.

Hi @Real_Guy,
So sorry to hear this situation has become really stressful for you - I hope I can afford you some reassurance in my response here! Firstly, massive congratulations for doing so well in your results, I hope you're also celebrating your success amongst this stress!

Obviously we're a bit biased, but computer science at Reading keeps rising in the rankings. Not only is it accredited by the BCS, but 100% of its research has been classed as outstanding or very considerable, so you'd be joining a top-class institution in terms of the research education you receive. The University of Reading has just been ranked the best university in the UK for work experience and placement opportunities - something you could make the most of during your time here to give you more hands-on experience and gain an edge over other applicants in a competitive graduate job market at the moment.

My best advice to you here would be to remember your degree is about so much more than your subject. Your experience at university is shaped by your course, accommodation, the friends you make, societies you join, campus you study in, the facilities available to you, ability to travel home, and, most importantly, your satisfaction with the choice you make. There's no guarantee that Nottingham will have computer science in clearing next year, or that it'll be the same grades as you have achieved in Clearing, but your experience is about so much more than grades or rankings on paper. Have a look at student experiences at both unis, consider the different facilities, accommodations, campuses and practicalities of each, and talk to your parents and friends about it. Look at the modules on offer at both and see which you prefer - it's all about making the right decision for you - as important as A Level grades are, its not about them past the point you get in! And taking a gap year to think isn't a bad idea - you can always defer your place this year at Reading and look at reapplying to Nottingham next year if you need a bit of reassurance.

Please do let us know if you have any other questions - we'll be more than happy to help!
Kat
BA History Graduate
Student working at the Cole Museum
University of Reading
Reading
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So I'm assuming Nottingham didn't have any spaces left for you so you can't start this year? Your A Levels are very good, and Reading, although requires high grades on its websites often recruit students who have Cs and even below for many of its subjects (I worked on the clearing hotlines last summer). With these grades you can easily apply to a 'higher ranked' russell group university which will give you a better experience.

Would you be happy taking a gap year even if it meant being unable to go to Nottingham but instead go to Reading, if they make the grade boundaries higher as you wrote?

If you do decide to take a gap year, make sure you have a plan of what to do - e.g. travel, work abroad. Now that you know what grades you have, you can apply to universitities with confidence.

Good luck with whatever decision you choose.

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