Image of a student collecting A-Level results with a family member

 by Ellen Bailey
, posted On 6 Aug '20
 Student Recruitment Officer at Bishop Grosseteste University

A guide to clearing and how your students can prepare for A-Level results day

Results day is a nerve-wrecking experience at an already stressful time for students. Having missed out on examinations this year, the end of your student’s school experience has already been a turbulent one; and many will be especially anxious not only about receiving their A-level results this year, but also what their university experience is going to look like.

But there are ways that you, as teachers, can help them cope and to let them know there’s still plenty of options available to them. Here I will provide an overview of them.

Preparation for results day and clearing

Although clearing officially started in July, for the majority of students their clearing experience will begin on the 13th August – after receiving their A-level results. For most students, this will be one of the biggest days of their life. For some, their whole future rests on their university place.

Proactively preparing your students with information about the clearing process ahead of time can be crucial in helping them understand the goings-on of the day. For some students. having failed to reach their predicted grades, it’s likely they will be feeling somewhat heartbroken, and having to deal with the stress of clearing, and if they have absolutely no idea of how it works, that can feel overwhelming. Make sure your students have their documents ready, have made back-up plans, are prepared to make some calls to universities and have a rough idea of what their day will entail if they fail to make the grades they expected.

Offer a supportive shoulder

Students want to know that you’re there to support them – both in the run up to results day and during. Perhaps they need advice on whether a new course they’ve found would suit them, or whether the university they’ve picked is the right fit; they want to know their teachers are there to help them make informed decisions about their further education.

Although you might not be around in person this year, make sure students are aware that you’re not far away for a chat.

Take time

The afternoon of results day can feel like a real rush. Panic sets in amongst students; racing against the clock to research all the clearing options and universities available to them and ringing as many of them as possible.

As a higher education institution, we understand that choosing a course at university (regardless of whether they’re applying through clearing or not) is a huge decision, and not one to be taken lightly. So, encourage your students to take time to seriously consider whether the options available to them are the right choice – not because it’s the only course left they could find. Push your students to be confident; ask universities exactly what they want to know – accommodation options, support at university, course modules, and try to get to visit the campus before their start date (virtual or not)!

Reassure them

Plans can drastically change on results day, so reassure your students that no matter how upset they may be feeling with their examination results that day – there will always be alterative options available to them.

When things don’t go to plan, this can be really overwhelming for your students - so it’s vital that they know there are other options available – whether that’s resitting exams or pursuing a different subject or university altogether.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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