Supporting on results day – what should I know, and how can I help?

Stay calm, know their options, and expect the unexpected – in this section, you’ll find tips for supporting your son or daughter on A-level results day.

Keep calm, and carry on – preparing for results day

Clear heads make good choices. As a parent or carer, you should:

  • be positive, but practical. Ahead of the big day, encourage your son or daughter to have a Plan B in place – whatever their expectations. It’ll keep the surprises to a minimum.
  • encourage your teen to learn about the Clearing and Adjustment processes. Preparation is key – understanding these schemes could give them a head-start, at a busy time.
  • make sure that they’ve got everything ready, and to hand – from their offers, to those key telephone numbers. It’s not the day to be hunting for UCAS log-in details.
  • try to make sure that your son or daughter isn’t on holiday. If any communications are required, universities will want to speak with them directly. Failing that, ensure they’ve given you permission to speak on their behalf.
  • most of all, respect and support their decision. Every choice has its merits. A gap year or far-flung university might not be your preferred option, but they’re adults – let them make up their own minds, independently and with confidence.

Nerves are natural on results day. You can’t control what’s in the envelope, but you can manage the mood. Help your son or daughter to stay calm, and composed – as a parent or carer, it’s your most important job.

The grand opening - A-level results, and what they mean

  • They’ve met the conditions of their firm or insurance choice

    Mission accomplished, and congratulations – it’s time to celebrate! Their university place will be confirmed online, via UCAS, and a confirmation letter will be sent in the post. Keep hold of that letter – it explains what to do next.

  • They’ve received better grades than predicted

    It’s not uncommon, and it’s a nice surprise. They could stick with their firm choice – alternatively, they may want to consider a different course, or university. You’ll find more tips and details below, in our Adjustment section.

  • They’ve missed their predicted grades

    In the case of a near-miss, we recommend contacting the university – your son or daughter could still be accepted, or offered a place on a similar course. Failing that, they could find new opportunities through the Clearing process (see below). There’s also the possibility of re-marking, re-sitting, or even re-applying in the next academic year. Just remember to stay calm – they’ll take your lead, and they’ll need some positivity.

  • They want to decline their offer, or defer to the next academic year

    A gap year, related work experience, or just a change of heart – whether declining or deferring, your teenager will need to inform the university’s admissions office. Make sure that they’re 100% certain about their choice – ideally, it’s a decision that should be made before results day, and not in the heat of the moment.

Understanding Clearing

Grades missed? Conditions not met? Try not to panic – set the tone with enthusiasm, a calm head, and a clear plan of action.

UCAS run their Clearing scheme every year, matching students to university places across the UK. As well as missed grades, it’s also useful when:

  • your son or daughter has applied to university, but hasn’t received any offers
  • they’ve declined all of their offers
  • they haven’t yet applied for a course in the 2017/18 academic year
  • they’ve missed the UCAS deadline date.

Keep an open mind

Clearing has a lot of success stories. It’s a contingency, not a consolation, so be positive about it – help them to understand that the power of choice is still in their hands. In 2014, over 61,000 students secured a university place through Clearing, with 85% confirming they were happy with their outcomes.

For more information, visit our Clearing and Adjustment section. You can also contact our Admissions team, ahead of the big day – we’ll be happy to help, however we can.

Understanding Adjustment

And what if your son or daughter gets even better results than expected?

If they meet and exceed the conditions of their first choice, they’ll be eligible for UCAS’ Adjustment scheme. This allows them to check directly with other universities for vacancies.

It’s an exciting opportunity, but a big decision – encourage your son or daughter to think clearly, and practically. What’s the accommodation situation at their new option? Have they visited the university before? It’s a big change at short notice, and we’d recommend that they speak with their school or college advisor before committing.

Registering for Adjustment isn’t a commitment. It’s a no-risk option – your son or daughter’s original offer will remain in place, until they confirm an alternative choice. For more information, visit our Adjustment section – find out how it works, when it starts, and how your son or daughter can register.

NTU's Clearing and Adjustment website will go live at the beginning on July 2017 to give you more advice and guidance if you end up going through this process.

Visit the UCAS website, for more information about Clearing

Visit the UCAS site, to learn more about Adjustment

Supporting on results day – what should I know, and how can I help?

Published on 19 September 2017

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