What do I need to know?
What you do next after getting your A level results will depend on whether you got the grades you expected and the post-A level option you have applied. TIP: If your plan is to go into higher education make sure you check that your contact details are up to date in UCAS Track before results day!.
UCAS Track is available from 8am on results day for you to check your status and see if you've been accepted into university or college. BUT the results will only be there if the higher education setting has updated UCAS. So getting hold of your results in person is always the best way to make sure you've got what you need.
Going on to higher education
Got the grades you needed?
Congratulations! You don't need to do anything. Your university/college will have received your results and confirmed your place, so you don't need to contact them.
I didn't get the grades I expected
- If you've received an offer, contact the admissions team at your preferred university or college to see if they'll still accept you, or check on UCAS Track.
- Not been offered a place? See what your options are through UCAS Clearing. From 5 July to 22 October, you can apply for a course that has places using Clearing, if you haven't been offered a place or you did not like the offers that you did receive. The video on the left explains the Clearing process and how it works.
- Stay calm. Take time to look through your options, get advice from an adviser at school or college if that support is available - they are used to helping students trying to make a decision.
- Get on the phone! The best way to decide whether a different uni or course is right for you is to speak to someone at the university. When you phone the admissions service at a university/college, it has to be you who calls. They will only speak to you, not to your parents unless you have officially nominated them to talk on your behalf during the higher education application process.
- Remember there is no pressure to go to university - make sure that whatever you choose to do is the right choice for you.
My results are better than I expected
- You could go through UCAS Adjustment. This service allows you to check out other courses or universities/colleges to see if it's possible to swap where you're studying.
- You still keep hold of your confirmed offer, while browsing alternatives that are now open to you with your higher grades. Adjustment is available from A level results day until 31 August.
- You access Adjustment by signing up through UCAS Track. It would be sensible to talk to an adviser at school or college, or call the UCAS exam results helpline on 0800 100 900 (16 - 30 August, 8am - 10pm) to go through your options before doing this.
Alternatives to higher education
Next steps after A level results are not just about going to uni. If you've not decided what you want to do next, there are options open to you - but you will need to do some research. Here's an overview to get you started!
Have you thought about an apprenticeship or a traineeship?
Apprenticeships offer you the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’. Higher apprenticeships (level 4 and 5) are equivalent to a higher education certificate, diploma or a foundation degree, and a level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor degree. You can look through live apprenticeship opportunities with our apprenticeship vacancy search.
A traineeship is a course combined with a work experience placement (for up to 6 months) that gives you the skills and experience needed to get ready for work or an apprenticeship. You can find out about the different ways to apply on our traineeship page.
Want to take a break from education?
If you feel like you need a break from education, you could think about a gap year. You could work, travel or volunteer, but it needs to be properly planned. For help and advice, take a look at our page on planning a gap year or find out about making a difference right here in Suffolk on our page about volunteering opportunities.