Tom blogs about having a "Plan B"

Friday, August 30, 2013 12:00 AM

Tom, one of our student bloggers, blogs about keeping your options open and how it is essential to have a Plan-B!

I can guess the two words on everyone's lips right now: 'results day'. I had a fairly successful results day, securing two high As in Classics and English Language (very chuffed indeed), and two Cs in History and Philosophy (not so chuffed but I can work with it!), which will set me up for the second and final year of college. I'm not going to list things to do with your good/bad results, as I'm sure you've been having that now from teachers and parents for the past few months. Instead, let's talk about future planning.

No matter the situation you are in, whether you're in Year 11, 12 or just left school or college, you should be thinking, or have thought about a back-up plan if your results don't pan out as you expect. It is essential, and I can't stress this enough, that you have a Plan-B if Plan-A falls through. All it takes is a lapse of concentration or a bad exam day, and your results may not be what you hoped for, and that university slot, or that apprenticeship place promised, is no longer a viable prospect. Whilst there are other scenarios that I'll come onto in a second, such as clearing and adjustment, it is always a good idea to check out university places that are likely to accept lower grades for your course. For example, say you're looking at Psychology at Sheffield - it's a three-A-course - also look at Psychology at other universities with a grade requirement that you're more likely to meet. is one of the useful websites that let you find this info quickly and easily. Don't just concentrate on getting into one university, because on the day, poor results may take that decision out of your control. I don't mean to worry you, of course! Time to introduce you to these two lovely sections below!

ADJUSTMENT. This is where you fabulous people excel in everything and find yourself with higher grades than expected! First off, congrats! Second, this does not mean you have 'trade up'; just because you did better than you thought you would, does not mean you have to remove that six-to-twelve-month relationship you now have with your firm-choice university. Adjustment is a process that allows you to leave open your place at your firm-choice, and look at other universities with higher grade requirements that you might never have looked at. If this is the case for you, well done, you bright spark, but don't be hasty. Take your time. Shop around, if you will.

CLEARING. This is where you fabulous people might have just slipped a little, and although having been offered places at universities, have missed your grades. FEAR NOT! There is the Clearing system - a way of matching universities that still have places, to students without them. But, it's all down to your fine selves; take the initiative and do your research prior to results day to see which universities will accept Clearing prospects in your course, especially if your course is in high demand. On results day, if the worst should happen, be ready to ring up and check (NB: no university wants to be talking to a prospective student's best friend or parent; always be the one on the phone) and if they say no, keep on trying.

The best thing to do? Don't fret. No panicking. Just relax about the whole thing, at least for now. If you've just left secondary school, you're going to love college. If you've just left Year 12, like myself, I guess we'd better buckle up. And if you've just left college for whatever future prospect, good luck. See you on the other side.

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