Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Holly used Clearing when she didn’t get the grades she was expecting

Name: Holly Laing
Age: 19
Address: Billingham

A Level results day last year
Holly missed out on her place at St Andrews University studying for masters in French, Spanish and Arabic.

“I got an A in English, B in English Literature and a C in French and although I knew I had done well, it wasn’t enough to get my original place. I really didn’t know what to do and just started to phone universities but had no luck.

I have never been so stressed about my immediate future! Everyone was posting their results and it had really hit me how I wouldn’t be going to the uni I was originally so set on.”

Next steps
Holly went onto Clearing to see what courses there were available to her and called the Exam Results Helpline for some advice.

“The adviser that I spoke to suggested that I should go and visit some of the unis that I was looking at to see if that would help my decision, which I did before accepting my place at Lancaster University. I have now just finished my first year and I hope to go on and achieve a masters in languages at possibly Oxford or Cambridge.”

How the Exam Results Helpline supported Holly

“If I hadn’t called the Exams Results Helpline I would have cried even more! I might have also missed out on some of the opportunities to study at some unis.”

Holly’s advice to this year’s students:

“Take a deep breath. I would say definitely visit the university that you have an offer for and see if you like it. Wherever you end up, as long as you stay positive and throw yourself into uni life, you will not regret your decision.”

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Exam Results Helpline: Ten Tips for Parents

Exam Results Helpline Careers Adviser Iwan Williams gives his top 10 tips for parents on how they can help their teenagers on A Level results day:

1. Be prepared for plan B: Before results day itself encourage your teenager  to start  thinking  about other courses and/or universities that they would be prepared to consider in Clearing, it could help them get a head start once they get their results.

2. Keep calm and don’t panic: We take calls from students who are panicking that they haven’t got the results they need and the first thing we tell them is to try to stay calm. This goes for parents too! If you can try not panic, it will really help your teenager. If at all possible encourage them to take a deep breath and keep a clear head as it will be much easier to think through their next steps if they are thinking clearly.

3. Remember to reassure: Try to remain positive, whatever the results. Your child may need reassurance from you that everything will work out and it will all be OK.

4. Time is on your side: There is no rush to make any quick decisions if you are thinking about a course in Clearing. Choosing a University can be difficult but when students go through Clearing and often haven’t even visited the University, it’s an even bigger decision to make. Clearing doesn’t open until the afternoon and so this gives your child time to reassess and have a good think about what they want to do before they start the process.

5. Make sure you’ve got fuel: If it is possible to visit the university offering a Clearing place before committing to it that can be really helpful so parents should be prepared to do some driving at fairly short notice or fund a few unexpected train journeys!

6. Learn about Adjustment: Getting better grades than expected is obviously a great situation to be in but it can pose a dilemma for your child about whether to stick with their original choice or to use Adjustment to choose a different course or University that was previously unavailable to them. It’s worth having an understanding of the Adjustment process and you can find more information here.

7. Open your mind about a gap year: Taking a gap year can be an effective way for your child to take time to think about all of their options. Used constructively, gap years can look good on a CV and can provide an opportunity to gain some work experience, making applicants more of a valuable contender for university or for the work place.

8. Consider earning whilst learning: If your teenager knows what they want to do career-wise then this could be a good option for them. It also gives them the opportunity to earn while they learn.

9. Remember re-takes: If your son or daughter thinks that they could have got a better grade in specific subjects or modules, then it might be possible to re-sit the exam and reapply for university next year. Your child will need to speak with their school about this ASAP. Be prepared that occasionally some universities look for higher grades from re-sit students so they may need to check specific Universities views on re-sit candidates.

10. Pick up the phone: If you want to find out more information, support or advice don’t forget that the Exam Results Helpline is here to help parents as well as the students themselves so give us a call on 0808 100 8000 or Twitter @ERHelp or Facebook.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Apprentice Case Study: Bradley Norton

Why did you decide to apply for an apprenticeship?
The main reason I applied is that I wanted to carry on my education and I thought that whilst learning in an academic environment offers good knowledge, there are certain things that can only be gained with experience.

Was it the right decision? 
Definitely. The knowledge that I have gained from experience has significantly helped my studies meaning that my grades are likely to be better than they would have been if I had done an academic education alone.

On top of the knowledge the fact that I am able to earn whilst doing these courses has meant that financially I have none of the troubles that some of my friends that have done the solely academic route have. The fact that I can attend university without paying the fees is a huge bonus as well.

What about the apprenticeship appealed to you specifically?
One of the biggest aspects that appealed to me was that I could go onto university without being burdened with debt. Whist I wanted to go to university I doubt I would have if I had to pay the fees myself. Another fact that appealed to me was the ability to earn and learn, this meant that outside of work I could have a life which I would not likely be able to enjoy if I went to university alone.

How long is your apprenticeship?
The apprenticeship is 5 years long in total, 2 years for a HNC and 3 years for the degree.

Have you earned any qualifications from your apprenticeship? If so, how can they help you?
So far I have earned a HNC from my apprenticeship. This should help me progress further in my career and achieve a higher level job role, the ongoing degree will also help me achieve this.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to your classmates?
That depends on the person. I would certainly recommend it to anybody who is willing to put in the level of work required to achieve the qualifications, however if they are not prepared to do this then it is likely that an apprenticeship is not for them.

What are your plans and ambitions after completing your apprenticeship?
Once I have completed my apprenticeship I hope to continue my progression through my career at the company. Hopefully paying back their investment in my future.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Exam Results Helpline: Aneesa Taliv

Name: Aneesa Taliv
Age: 20

A Level results day last year
When Aneesa got her exam results last year she was really happy to have passed her courses in Business, Health & Social Care and Sociology. Aneesa had always planned to take a gap year as she was unsure of what she wanted to do next.

“The application process for uni began when I was in the middle of preparing for my exams and so I just didn’t feel like I had the time to write a personal statement and apply. I decided to take a gap year to weigh up my options and have a think about what I wanted to do.”

Next steps
Aneesa was delighted with her results and so suddenly the option of going to university seemed to be more of an option.

“I felt confused when I got my results. I was really happy with my grades but all of my friends were celebrating that they had got into university and I felt disappointed that I hadn’t applied. I also started to get worried that if I did take a year out I might not get back into education. Then one of my friends suggested to call the Exam Results Helpline to see what my options were.”

How the Exam Results Helpline supported Annesa
The adviser on the phone suggested that Annesa could have a look into Clearing to see what courses and which universities were available to her.

“The adviser was really encouraging and made me realise that I still had a chance of going to uni despite not applying sooner. They talked me through the Clearing process and so I started to see what was on offer to me.”

Next steps
Annesa found a course that she was interested in at her local university and has now finished her first year of her Childhood and Family studies with Education studies degree at Wolverhampton University.

Aneesa’s advice to students getting their results this year:
“You’ve still got a chance to go to university even if you haven’t applied yet. I thought I had missed my chance because I hadn’t applied but actually I managed to get onto a course without having to go through the whole application process, which for me was an easier route in.
Also, make sure that you call the Exam Results Helpline – these lines are set up for you so don’t be afraid to call them. They really helped me.”