Results Day 2015: your questions answered

What happens on Results Day?

8am – Results are released on UCAS Track

       – Check UCAS Track for confirmation of your University place

9am – Pick up your results (in paper form) from Cadbury College

       – Narrowly missed your grades? Don’t worry! Help is at hand!

       – Enter into Clearing and start your search online

5pm – Enter your Clearing choice into UCAS Track

Advice to students:

Thinking back to six years ago when I found out my A-Level results, all I can remember is a night of next to no sleep and a frantic (and very early) morning – the rest of the day is a bit of a blur!

My advice would be to just stay calm. Easier said than done – I know. But think about it. You did your examinations two to three months ago and there is nothing more you can do now. You tried your best and that’s all that matters. 

If you get the grades you need for University, that’s brilliant and well done!

If you narrowly missed your grades or they were much lower than you had expected, it isn’t the end of the world – there are a huge amount of opportunities out there and your A-Level grades are just a way of pushing you in a direction that is well-suited to you.

Whatever your computer screen says at 6am (because you know you will all be checking first thing) it is the start of an exciting new chapter for you – so, be excited!

In the week running up to Results Day, there are bound to be some questions that are troubling you.  I have gone through some of the main queries that students have, but if something hasn’t been covered, feel free to email us or send us a Facebook or Twitter message and we’ll happily help you out!

Query One – “What do I do on Results Day?”

One of the most important pieces of advice is to get a good night’s sleep on Wednesday night.  You want to be fresh in the morning, ready to face whatever happens.  Get everything ready the night before; you should pack a pen, a notepad, a calculator (in case your modules aren’t adding up), a screenshot on your phone or a print out of your exact University offers, contact details, a bottle of water and some tissues (just in case.)

In the morning, there is no point trying to log into UCAS Track before 8am. So chill; Eat some breakfast and just relax. When the time comes, log in to UCAS Track, and check out your achievements!

If you have made your offer, you can crack on with your celebrating.  UCAS Track will update and you can await your AS12 confirmation letter with information about what happens next.

If it says “unconditional firm” then you’re in and you can relax.

If it says that you’ve been unsuccessful but you’ve met the conditions of your insurance choice then this will change to “unconditional”.

If you haven’t met your insurance offer, then you’ll be assigned a Clearing number.  

If you have met your insurance offer, but you don’t want to go there anymore, you’ll need to contact the University to ask to be released into Clearing.


Query two – I got higher grades than I was expecting – Can I look at other University offers, or must I stick with my “firm choice”?

Students who exceed their offer are eligible for a process called Adjustment, and you become eligible for this as soon as your UCAS Track status changes to “unconditional firm”.

Exceeding your offer means that you must meet and exceed the conditions of the offer that are stated in your firm choice. 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.

If you get AAB, but your offer was for ABB, you have two choices. You can either stick with your “firm choice” or do some research into other courses at a different (or the same) University and see if there is something that appeals to you – perhaps you thought this was unattainable for you when you were applying.

Securing a place through Adjustment is similar to securing one through Clearing; you check your UCAS Track and Universities’ websites to see if there are vacancies, and then contact the University to discuss a place there.

If you’re on holiday during this period and haven’t done your research but are desperate to adjust it’s probably worth asking your “firm choice” to release you and make a fresh application for 2016 with your exam results confirmed.


Query three – I got lower grades than I was expecting – What happens now?

I missed my “firm choice”

First of all, check UCAS Track – your University might still accept you if you only just missed your grades. If it says “unconditional” then you’re fine. Relax, celebrate and leave the phone lines clear - don't phone your university 'just to check' – if it is on Track, it is confirmed. You have a place.

If UCAS Track shows your status as unsuccessful, then you have been rejected and you need to consider your alternative options. With places so competitive nowadays, it is really only worth asking a University to reconsider if you have new information to provide – you missed your grade by just a few UMS points, or you plan to appeal any of your grades. If you do phone the University, keep calm – however stressed you feel, don’t be rude or aggressive. The person who answers the phone isn't responsible for your grades, and is more likely to want to help you if you are polite.  Remember, the more competitive the University is, the less likely it is that they will be interested in being 'lenient'.

I missed my “firm” offer, and it won't accept me with lower grades

There are several options that Cadbury College will be able to talk you through with specific regard to your circumstances. These include accepting your insurance place, retaking A-levels and reapplying for next year.

I missed my “firm” offer, but I met my “insurance” offer

Nice work! If this shows as “unconditional”, you don't need to do anything further now. Again, this may take a while to update on Track. If this is still showing as “conditional” by lunchtime on results day, you should phone that University to find out what the hold-up is. Remember, stay calm and be polite. 

NB - If you are now going to your insurance choice, you will need to change your student loan details 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 will also need to sort out accommodation at your new University.

I missed my “firm” offer and my “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 be entered for Clearing, but remember, you don't have to go to another university if you don't want to.

Realising that neither your “firm” or “insurance” university will now accept you can be very hard, especially if everyone else is jumping up and down and shrieking 'I'm going to Uni!'. Your school has seen students in exactly this position before and can help. Don't fall into the trap of thinking 'my entire life is over'.

Talk to your teachers; they know your circumstances best and are there to help you with advice about what to do next. Don't panic - remember, lots of very able people either don't go to University straight from school or don't go at all!

Your main options now:

Enter Clearing and see if your grades are acceptable to another university
Retake your A-levels and reapply for next year's entry to uni
Forget about uni for the moment and either get a job, go to college to do a non-degree course, or do an traineeship/apprenticeship

Query four - If I already have a conditional offer, can I use Clearing?

Not really. Universities will only accept Clearing applications from students with completed qualifications who are not holding an offer elsewhere. However, there is nothing stopping you from ringing Universities and seeing if they'd be interested in you, but in order to use Clearing you'd have to get released from any commitments you have to any other Universities.  This is a risk because once you've given up your place a University may not be able to take you back if you change your mind.

Think long and hard before giving up a confirmed place, and make sure you're very clear what Universities are offering to you before taking any drastic action.  It was a lot of hard work to earn your confirmed place – don’t waste it.

Query five – My “firm choice” University is in Clearing, but I haven’t heard back yet – is this a bad sign?

“It's not a bad sign at all. Universities no longer have rigid limits on the number of students they can take, and with fewer school-leavers in the population than there were several years ago, most Universities are in the position of having room for more students in lots of areas.

Some Universities and courses prefer to take their own firm candidates who've just missed their grades above new Clearing candidates, whereas others are more rigid on their grade requirements and will seek Clearing applicants with the right grades above firm candidates who drop grades.

So a lot depends on how willing your specific course's admissions tutor is to be flexible on grades.

If your firm choice is in Clearing, results have been released but you haven't got a decision yet on whether you've been accepted, it could be that the University is missing a piece of information about you - you should phone to check what the delay in your decision is about.

Query six – I rejected a University  - would they still accept me if I re-applied through Clearing?

If they have places left and you meet their requirements and call them up to secure a place, there's no reason why they shouldn't.  You shouldn't worry that having turned down a University before will prejudice them against you - they just want to get good students who are enthusiastic about their courses and capable of thriving on them.  Admissions people know that going to University is a massive decision and understand that people change their minds and develop their ideas.  If the University has places and you have the right grades, give them a call and don't be embarrassed about the fact that you turned them down before.

Query seven - Do universities ask for lower grades in Clearing compared to their original offers?

 Some courses and Universities are looking to recruit large numbers in Clearing and may drop a grade or two to widen the pool of available applicants, whereas others may just know they have room for a few more students and want them to have the same grades as the original applicants.

There are no hard-and-fast rules: applicants should simply take care, look carefully at the Clearing requirements on the UCAS website and the universities' own websites to check.

Query eight - Can you apply for deferred places through Clearing?

No. Clearing is a way of matching up students and available places quickly at the end of the cycle prior to the academic year starting a month or so later.  My advice, if you want to defer, would be to wait until the 2016 applications open in September and apply then. You’ll have your results, so you’ll be able to apply with confidence to Universities who are looking for students with grades like yours. This option is practically stress-free and with your grades already confirmed there is no reason why Universities will not make you an unconditional offer, especially if you use the deferred year to broaden your horizons – perhaps work abroad, or volunteer or undertake some training for your chose course subject.

Query nine – I will be abroad on holiday during Results Day – what do I do?

If you’re on holiday during Results Day, it’s a good idea to ask a friend or family member in advance to collect your results for you; make sure you inform Cadbury College of your plan so that we know to expect someone different. Don’t forget to take your Track login details with you on holiday and make sure someone at home also has access to Track so they can check for you if needed.

So there you have it. Many questions answered, and almost every possibility of what could happen next Thursday covered to make the process as stress-free for you as possible.

If you have any other questions, queries or worries about your Results that haven’t been covered, just send an email to [email protected] or write us a message on Facebook or Twitter.  We’re around to answer your questions between Monday and Friday from 8:30am and 4pm.

Other than that, keep enjoying your summer holidays, and we shall look forward to seeing you all again at Cadbury College on Thursday August 13th 2015 at 9am!

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