Is your son or daughter waiting for exam results?

The 2020 exam results feel like unknown territory and many will be feeling anxious and stressed. On top of the options listed below there is also the choice to sit A Levels in October and GCSEs in November. Students choosing to take the autumn exams would not jeopardise their calculated grades – they get to keep whichever is higher.

A Level Results

A Level results are out on Thursday 13th August; many young people will have a university, training, college or Degree Apprenticeship place riding on the grades they receive, and offers may be confirmed before Thursday; this may be a relief.

Your son or daughter should ensure that they have all the relevant contact phone numbers ready for Thursday so that they can call and negotiate if they miss a grade or two. Again, this is a common scenario during a ‘normal’ year and in our current circumstances I anticipate that there will be plenty of room for manouevre. All other details such as UCAS numbers, application references etc should also be at hand.

Note that I am not saying the parent or carer should have this ready….this is something the applicant has to do. You can encourage and gently remind but these are grown-up decisions that your son or daughter needs to be taking responsibility for.

This year’s results day is likely to be an even busier Clearing Day for universities. In recent years almost all universities have had courses on offer and you can already see many on the UCAS web site  ucas.com/clearing-launch. Your son or daughter can research now to see what is available and be ready to call on Thursday when they know their results.

The National Careers Service has lots of advice and information and they have a Helpline 0800 100 900 (open from 12th August) should assistance not be on offer at your child’s school or college.

Feeling confused about whether to start University at all in the pandemic situation? If ever there was a year to stand back and really assess what is right for you, it is 2020.

None of us know how teaching, lectures, tutorials and practicals will pan out over the next year but so many university courses include very high levels of independent study that for many, the learning experience may not change much.What might look different is the ‘student experience’. I meet so many young people for whom the ‘experience’ is the main driver for applying to Higher Education and when I drill down this means the opportunity to move away from home, hang out with lots of similarly aged people and ‘have fun’.

Yes, these aspects are all part of growing up, finding independence, finding your own voice etc but the average student debt of £50k is a high price to pay for just this.So – taking some time to consider whether it is actually the learning and the study that is wanted is not a bad thing.

Many young people already asked to defer a year when they received offers in late spring. Many young people may feel that they are not sure what a gap year will look like if there are travel restrictions and high levels of unemployment so they are asking to ‘un-defer.’

All options are possible, your son or daughter just needs to think hard about what is right for them (not what their mates are doing) and call the Admissions department of their chosen course.

There are still plenty of options for young people who are about to receive A level and BTec results – Apprenticeships are still available and new opportunities are being listed all the time  – recruitment does not have one time-frame like university applications. A Degree Apprenticeship can offer everything that studying full time offers – qualifications, opportunities to volunteer, to join company social groups, to live independently ( you are earning a salary after all) holidays…and for many, this route offers much more stability and peace of mind than the graduate job scramble. There are 31 Degree Apprenticeship vacancies currently listed on the National Apprenticeships website

GCSE Results

GCSE results are published a week later on Thursday 20th August and many offers and decisions also rest on these results; a school or college place or an Apprenticeship.

If grades (especially English and Maths) are disappointing, it will be important to make contact with the institution to ask if this affects the place. For a 16 year old, it will be fine for the parent or carer to make this call. Don’t make assumptions about a place or indeed a rejection – call and confirm. UCAS has a reminder about options after GCSE.

Good luck this week and next…try hard not to build on the stress your child probably already feels but do keep the conversations open about plans, options and choices. These exams are just small stepping stones in your child’s life and so many other factors will define their future happiness.

For more further education and careers advice please contact Vanessa Kenneth at CareersTutor.com

Careers Tutor

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