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28 October 2014

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Pass or fail - the future is still bright
Teenagers getting A Level results
The agony and the ecstasy: but there are options even if your results aren't what you hoped

Andrew Lloyd, adviser with youth careers service Connexions Gloucestershire, offers advice and hints on what to do next.


audio UCAS staff tell BBC Gloucestershire's Andrew Vincent how they can help


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Student results reaction

After A-Levels

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'How clearing helped me'

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'We learned to change our lives' - lifelong education in Gloucestershire

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University of Gloucestershire

Connexions youth careers advice service

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Fact File

+ Latest figures from Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show that 437,615 people have applied to UK universities and colleges for 2003 entry - a rise of 15,041 (3.6%) on last year.

+ Overall, the number of women applying to full-time undergraduate courses in the UK has risen by 4.3% (9,839). Men show a rise of 2.7% (5,202).

+ UCAS send all eligible applicants a Clearing Entry Form (CEF) as soon as A level results are available. If a CEF form is not received, applicants should contact UCAS on 0870 1122211; and have their UCAS application number to hand. They can also find their Clearing entry number on the UCAS track service.


UCAS: 0870 112 2211

University of Gloucestershire Clearing Helpline: 01242 544001

Connexions advice service helpline: 01452 524800

BBC OneLife Results Helpline: 0808 100 8000

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Education, Education, Education

If all that extra study and hard work has paid off and your results are higher than you expected, then apart from the celebrations, you have some thinking to do about your next steps.

If you haven't already applied to university, it's not too late and there are literally thousands of places available through clearing via Cheltenham-based UCAS - the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service - but you have to move fast!

For more information about the benefits of higher education see

There are plenty of flexible options to suit your needs from full-time and part-time study to learn while you earn options such as Foundation Degrees.

See Aimhigher's step-by-step guide for those who haven't applied and visit the UCAS website

Don't let money stand in your way. For advice about the financial support that is available to you and how to apply, contact your local education authority or see

If you have been looking forward to a particular university or college place for months, then finding out that you can't be accepted after all can be a terrible shock and disappointment.

You might feel quite distraught at first. But don't despair.

Whatever exam grades you've got, you still have a wide choice of things to do, and there is no reason why you too can't go on to your dream career.

If you're holding an offer from a university or college but your grades are lower than they asked you for, then the first thing to do is check with them. Perhaps you can still be accepted.

Teenagers with results
Disappointing results are not the end of the world

Ring as soon as you can, and find out before you go any further. If your Firm Offer course turns you down, then check with your Insurance Offer - your back-up plan.

If both turn you down, then you can still go through clearing, see the step-by-step guide at

You should think very carefully before deciding to do re-takes. Were there any special circumstances - illness, family crisis, changing school - that stopped you doing your best this time around?

If not, what's going to be different next year? Try talking to your teachers about why you didn't do so well in your exams, and whether it's worth another try.

The World of Work

Some young people will feel that they've had more than enough of education by now, and can't wait to get out and start earning.

It is important not to feel pressured into going to university just because everyone else seems to be.

It is possible in many jobs to work your way up to a degree, or go back to studying later on, maybe at the same time as working.

Some young people will know the kind of work they want to get into, and may already have done some work experience and have contacts in the industry.

They can use these, alongside the Jobcentre, local papers and Connexions to explore what is around locally, or even further afield.

If young people do not know what they want to do, then Connexions personal advisers will be able to help by listening to your ideas and skills and suggesting some possible careers to investigate.

They also have access to some sophisticated computer programmes designed to help people reflect on career choices which may suit them.

Cash with a Career

Although there may be plenty of jobs out there, it is important that young people choose a job with prospects that will enable them to continue to train and learn essential new skills while still earning. One of the best ways of combining cash with a career is by completing a Modern Apprenticeship - see the website at or call 08000 150 600.

As well as being on a stronger footing when it comes to moving onwards and upwards, and gaining the chance of higher positions and earnings later on, training shows commitment from both the employer and the employee.

Flying Away

It is a myth that all gap years are just a way of going on holiday, or that they have to be abroad. Some young people feel that they just need some time to think, explore and postpone a career or university for a bit.

A year spent travelling on a structured project (such as Raleigh International), trying different jobs by temping in a different town, or volunteering at home can be a great way of gaining confidence, new skills, experience, maturity and direction.

There are loads of organized gap year programmes such as, or closer to home, Millennium Volunteers - - which can put you in touch with some local projects in your area.

It's up to you

Deciding what to do isn't always easy, but it is worth remembering not to rush into any decision.

Make sure you talk though the options open to you with your family, teachers and a Connexions personal adviser.

And also remember that you are not planning for the next 50 years, just the next step in your life.

To contact a personal adviser call Connexions in Cheltenham (01242 250317) Gloucester (01452 426900) or Stroud (01453 757133).

Alternatively click 'Ask Us' at or call the helpline on 01452 524800.

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