A-level results: Why getting university place isn't the only option for you

Kevin Bediouhoune

Thousands of sixth-form students across England are getting their A-level results.

If you didn't get what you wanted, it can be a really stressful day.

But these teenagers have found other ways around not getting the grades they wanted from clearing, to apprenticeships and taking a gap year.

'A-levels are a lot harder than I thought' - Kevin, 19, went through clearing

"I got my offers rejected which meant I could start the application process again.

"I rang up different universities and asked to speak to their head of science and eventually Hull offered me a place.

"It's never too late to apply, you can apply up until October for a place. The whole process took about four days to get everything sorted.

"A lot of people get their results, burst in to tears and panic. Don't tell anyone your results until you've accepted them yourself.

"If you cry, or you shout, it won't change your results.

"Have in the back of your head that it's not the end. There are other options."

'I thought university was the only way forward' - Aisha, 19, trained through an apprenticeship scheme

Aisha Syed

"I decided I wanted to go to uni and had accepted an offer, but then I thought, 'I don't want to do this, I don't think it's going to get me places.'

"I found what's called a fast track apprenticeship through the civil service. They have five different schemes - I chose the business one.

"No-one had introduced to me that apprenticeships would be a good idea.

"I'm working, learning and earning at the same time. I get a foundation degree equivalent, and now I get a salary that someone would get after a three-year degree.

"There's no student debt, it's paid for by the civil service. I have two days a month for learning. Monday to Friday I go to work, but I also get study days as well.

"It's not like I'm working a 9-5 Monday to Friday."

'I've become a lot more decisive and it helped me become more confident' - Harry, 18, volunteered abroad

Harry Richardson
Image caption Harry volunteered abroad with sustainable development charity Raleigh International

"I didn't get the results I needed to get for uni so it spurred me on to go on a gap year. I was a little bit disappointed because I was hoping to get slightly higher grades.

"I needed ABB and got CDD. I'm an August baby so I felt quite young to go to uni, so it did mean I could have a year out and grow.

"Regrettably I didn't really think about saving money in the summer before so I had to save to go away because I only had £100 in my account.

"I went on a charity trip and some trekking in Nepal where you make a difference. I learnt not to get too worked up over little things.

"It helped when I got back and decided to go to a different university this year. I'm looking forward to it.

"If you've got to take a year out, take some time out and get some life experience."

'It worked out for the best for me' - Sarah, 20, went to college

Student Nurse Sarah

"I finished my A-levels with a D, an E and a U, and ended up going to college for a year and get some extra Ucas points so that I could get into uni.

"Now I'm in my second year studying adult nursing at Wolverhampton uni, and I've managed to get a first in every assessment that I've done, so it just shows A-levels aren't the bee-all and end-all.

"When I went on to do the medical science BTEC course at college, I found things so much easier.

"You're treated like more of an adult, and the assessment process isn't as pressurised because it's done throughout the year."

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