For anyone worrying about a-levels, for themselves or for family members…

  • This topic has 47 replies, 29 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by  ml.
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  • For anyone worrying about a-levels, for themselves or for family members…
  • Premier Icon Northwind
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    Good luck to all those affected by these tragic events, you are in my thoughts. But don’t call me tomorrow! Phone some other university! I’ll be busy enough!

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    NW – is it true that universities get the grades in advance of their public release ? (I’m told today that courses will often state in advance on their websites whether or not they’ll have clearing places once the shit hi, err, results are released

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    oh, and good luck yerself !

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
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    is it true that universities get the grades in advance of their public release ?

    Almost certainly.

    Mrs Dubs already knows her a-level students got a mix of A to Cs

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    On a more serious note for parents and kids alike, it looks like record places available in clearing tomorrow, and it’s nothing like it was when I was a student- clearing’s not for exam failures any more, it’s for all sorts, people who’ve had a change of heart, or who’ve done better than expected, or all sorts of others, lots of adjustments and new plans. And exam failures πŸ˜‰ So it’s the best time ever to be in clearing, basically. And the worst time ever to work in university recruitment πŸ˜†

    scaredypants – Member

    NW – is it true that universities get the grades in advance of their public release ?

    Yup, we get slightly early warning so that we can prepare UCAS responses, plan for clearing etc, calibrate for if there’s been a good or bad year on specific courses and basically do all the admissions voodoo. But of course, we’re all under embargo- we can’t discuss it with students or parents, we just get the edgy.

    So frinstance we (Heriot-Watt, in Edinburgh) were pretty sure we’d have places in certain courses but now, we know- we’re ready to respond to all our conditionals and we know which students haven’t made their conditionals elsewhere and are now probably taking up insurance offers with us, and so on. We’ve got a fair idea who’s coming to us and who’s not taking a place and all that

    Heh. I shall now call this thread legitimate reason to go on STW tomorrow.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    cheers NW – I actually work (seconded) at a university but don’t get involved in all that admissions stuff at all

    Premier Icon seadog101
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    My daughter knew from the UCAS website that her offer had gone unconditional early in the morning, but no idea of grades. Then got her actual results later in the morning at school.

    Premier Icon stevemorg2
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    My lad got his first choice uni place confirmed this morning and has just rung with his grades – I’m over the moon!!

    nbt
    Member

    For anyone worrying about a-levels, for themselves or for family members

    remember that it’s too late to stop climate change & most of you will die fighting for water
    πŸ˜†

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Congrats Seadog and Morg!

    @seadog, UCAS Track only gives UCAS decisions not results, it’s a little weird tbh but functional.

    What causes a lot of confusion is that the response to an offer isn’t necessarily exactly what the offer was. So frinstance, we made a conditional offer to someone this year who already had a good set of highers, but we asked for ABB in the second sitting. He didn’t quite make that so we looked again and went “That was pretty high anyway, this is still a good result, let’s take him”. There’s a huge human element. But on the outside it looks like a big heartless machine.

    So, when he got his grades he shat a brick and didn’t check UCAS, phoned up and got me and went MY LIFE IS OVER and I checked and went nah, you lucky git, you’re in.

    But UCAS, for university entry, is the important bit. If your track hasn’t updated yet, don’t freak- if your grades are good enough to hit a conditional, and it still says CF or CI, you’re safe, withdrawing an offer on results day is close to unheard of and basically doesn’t happen because of your grades. So if the offer says “AAB” and you have AAB but it’s still saying conditional, it’s almost certainly just admin. Some universities are really pretty slow.

    Here’s a really good guide btw:

    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/results/a-level/guide-to-a-level-results-day-2017

    marcus7
    Member

    All sounds a bit complex to me πŸ˜‰ in my day we went to pick up our results, denied in our heads how bad we (I) had done and then went to get totally hammered. woke up the next day and faced the music and desperately grabbed any course going…. still, it was free so worth a punt. shame my degree has nowt to do with what i do now though!. 8)

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
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    I’ve just had to explain to my niece that the only reason I didn’t get two A+ and an A is because ‘A+’ didn’t exist when I was her age.

    … and neither did ‘A’.

    GregMay
    Member

    I sit on the other side, hoping that we get students who hit the grades, rather than cleared in. Time will tell.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    In hindsight, I’m really glad I did an Art Foundation Course. Got offered the place well before the end of term. Never needed my A-Levels again as the foundation course work got me the university place.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Yup, we often recommend foundation courses, associate studentships, or college articulation- they’re all better ways to get into most courses than going straight from school, but nobody really knows about it and the “where am I going to uni” kids never think about anything other than direct entry. Lots of options though. We’d rather have someone that’s done a relevant HND than someone who’s only done a-levels or highers.

    Alex
    Member

    UCAS Track only gives UCAS decisions not results, it’s a little weird tbh but functional.

    – I spent nearly two years working on that and lots of other UCAS systems. It was quite an experience. Results day at UCAS tho is amazing. Scary but amazing. And the contact centre is fantastic.

    My lad passed both his. One pass was an A grade. So well done him. No Uni tho, he has an apprenticeship.

    For NW and everyone else at Uni’s dealing with clearing for the next couple of weeks, have fun πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
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    Listening to the Today programme on the drive to work today and John Humphreys was having his annual massive-ship-on-shoulder dig at higher education. You’d have thought he would have got over it by now….

    I thought the CEO of UCAS was pretty good, and on the whole the process seems to work very well. Obviously the removal of te cap on places has somewhat invigorated the whole thing..!

    But even now, 22 years on, I return to that same dread feeling that I hadn’t got the 3 As needed (buggered up French)…. Still, the admissions team at my first choice university were accommodating so all ended well.

    Have a fun day Northwind..!

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    Northwind – Member

    Yup, we often recommend foundation courses, associate studentships, or college articulation- they’re all better ways to get into most courses than going straight from school, but nobody really knows about it and the “where am I going to uni” kids never think about anything other than direct entry. Lots of options though. We’d rather have someone that’s done a relevant HND than someone who’s only done a-levels or highers. Often wondered if there was an equivalent for other types of courses. Interesting.

    Premier Icon kcal
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    schools and some degree of peer pressure are probably the cause of the foundation low uptake.
    After 4 rejections for her art course choice, daughter decided to take herself off and do a foundation course anyway, outside the system, she’s much happier and hopefully will stand her in good stead next year…

    iain65
    Member

    My son managed to get his first choice in Glasgow to do Physics which is great, mum’s still crying! Second choice was Heriot Watt, I’m sorry it was not his first choice as it looks a great place.

    Hope everyone else’s plans are working out okay.

    Premier Icon DavidB
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    Ours are in tatters with daughter getting grades well below expectations and entry requirement.

    A lot of hanging on the phone has got her four offers through clearing which has cheered things up a little. It does seem odd that clearing can’t work online as I’ve repeated the same information a gazzillion times and sat on hold for hours.

    As a family we now have to leave social networks for a month as the trumpeting of other parents (understandable) is nigh on unbearable.

    NZCol
    Member

    I still have flashbacks to results day – I’d left school before highers as frankly i hated it, mum persuaded them to let me do my highers (5) and i had a few conditional places. Worked all summer and remember the moment when I realised I could go to Uni and p1ss it up large ! (you could back then). I did then genuinely tick the wrong box and ended up doing a double degree which significantly constrained my time in the pub.

    Premier Icon salad_dodger
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    My lad got his first choice of Cardiff. Gutted – I had hoped to spend the Β£50k on a new camper van instead.

    ji
    Member

    Daughter got three A*s – slightly surprising herself. We now have the dilemma of either taking the place she has an offer for (Leeds) or taking a year out and re-applying for Oxford (her first choice). A nice dilemma to have I am sure, but I had hoped that the stress might end today…

    Premier Icon miketually
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    I get to do A-level results day every year. Including my own, this is my 17th.

    Pretty happy with 100% passing and 75% getting a B or better πŸ™‚

    epicsteve
    Member

    My son managed to get his first choice in Glasgow to do Physics which is great, mum’s still crying! Second choice was Heriot Watt, I’m sorry it was not his first choice as it looks a great place.

    My daughter will also be at Glasgow Uni this year, doing postgraduate teacher training. Heriot Watt is a nice place (my previous office was on the campus there) but Glasgow looks good too. My daughter was there for her orientation day today and liked what she saw.

    epicsteve
    Member

    I get to do A-level results day every year. Including my own, this is my 17th.

    Pretty happy with 100% passing and 75% getting a B or better

    My wife is a department head so A level results day is a big one for her as well. She seems pretty happy – 75% A*/A and 97% B or better – which is an improvement on last year (especially with the number of A*’s) and also means they’ve improved every year she’s been there. In fact she’s thinking it might be time to stick that on her CV and look for a move!

    Premier Icon stever
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    Slightly hairy time here realising she could get into her second choice with (slightly missed) grades. Didn’t apply originally as it was same grades as first choice. But to do that she had to turn down insurance offer and go into clearing …which takes an unknown time and couldn’t get a firm offer from new favourite till she was marked as in clearing. By which time favourite course might be full. Turns out it did later full and she managed to cancel the cancellation on the insurance offer. Sounds complicated? Yes! All well now I think.

    Premier Icon kcal
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    good to hear steve(r). I imagine fraught is one word!!
    – callum

    Premier Icon jamj1974
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    Congratulations to all of you with children and loved ones who have done well.

    Always worth mentioning as well that it’s not the end of the world if it’s not quite what they expected too. Good friend of mine retook GCSE’s and A-levels but then made a massive effort with his degree.. He thinks the failures are the biggest contribution to his success…

    frogrocket
    Member

    Northwind I’m 9hrs into a shift on our Confirmation Line at Uni of Salford. 93 calls handled so far and no tearful applicants yet!

    All the best to everyone going through the sausage grinder today.

    Premier Icon AD
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    Northwind – funnily enough I got into Heriot-Watt through clearing πŸ™‚ Admittedly 25 years ago…

    Premier Icon DavidB
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    frogrocket I probably spoke to you. πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Congrats folks! I got a bit caught up doing actual work.

    @AD I bet you 10p neither you or I would get in now in that case πŸ˜† I had ABCCD or something, that’s just about enough to get you into high school these days. Things got tough!

    DavidB – Member

    As a family we now have to leave social networks for a month as the trumpeting of other parents (understandable) is nigh on unbearable.

    Dude, getting into any decent university is an achievement despite all the pish people talk, and 2 minutes in nobody cares whether they arrived by clearing or not (*) Just say “So proud of DavidBjr for getting into Scumbag College, <course she’s doing> got amazing NSS results last year!” or something. And then once she’s there, everyone else at her uni applied there too.

    (* I mean that very literally, we were looking for clearing success stories from our students and a bunch of them responded “oh yeah, I came here through clearing didn’t I!” Just like GCSEs and A levels it’s the most important thing in the world til the day after, then it’s just done.)

    iain65 – Member

    Second choice was Heriot Watt

    YOU MONSTER. Glasgow’s great though, fantastic result! Mountain biking’s shit though by comparison…

    frogrocket – Member

    93 calls handled so far and no tearful applicants yet!

    Did you at least get a furious dad?

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
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    In AS level limbo here for the middle kid, very anticlamactic, some subjects running straight through A levels, some still doing AS & A2s. Off to do some more rounds of Uni visits come September.

    Premier Icon AD
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    @Northwind – I suspect you’re right!
    I seem to remember a very laid back process at that time. I had a conditional for an engineering course at HW but (deservedly) didn’t get the maths grade so when I rang up to beg (!), the guy on the phone laughed and said ‘no chance – but you’re good at chemistry’ and transferred me through to his mate in the Chemistry department πŸ™‚

    I had a great time at HW. Robert Bryson Hall had just been built – it was sheer luxury compared to some of the dives my mates ended up in!

    epicsteve
    Member

    I had a great time at HW. Robert Bryson Hall had just been built – it was sheer luxury compared to some of the dives my mates ended up in!

    They built a load of new student accommodation a few years back and the sports facilities have also had a very serious upgrade. Very good university now and can be tough to get into. Nice campus (although not as nice as Stirling, which is where I went) and good location as well.

    aracer
    Member

    The daughter of one of my neighbours (the one I get on really well with – he rides bikes and we share our tools) hadn’t applied for anywhere had planned on a year out, but was surprised at how good her results were (ABB apparently, I presume that is still really good). I mentioned NW’s comments on this thread to him that there was plenty available in clearing – presumably she needs to get her act together quickly – what does she need to do if she hasn’t applied at all and wants to get a clearing place?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    You don’t need to have done anything in UCAS before going to clearing, most kids will already have applied but definitely not all. You can literally start tomorrow. Or now, probably, with the really desperate unis πŸ˜† What I’d say is call unis first, then she can do a UCAS application after- it’s a little bit chicken and egg, you can’t accept a uni place without having applied through UCAS, but you don’t know if there’s any point applying til you speak to them.

    TBH it’s the sort of situation where she should have a chat with an education liaison person too, kids tend to rush into uni but if applying through clearing tomorrow means a rush job and maybe not getting her first choice, or buying blind, it might not be the best option. We’d often recommend sticking with the original plan. But she could definitely make it work, she has a choice.

    Tell him, if she’s feeling freaked out by the choice, give me a call on 0131 451 3451- I can give her a nonpartisan chat and take her through the implications. But she’ll actually get good advice from just about any quality uni, and she’s got good enough grades that she doesn’t have to settle for less than that.

    @AD and epicsteve, the new halls are imo too swanky, they’re not even proper regulation Heriot Watt brown. Weirdly, the day after you finish building a new hall of residence, it smells of turnip or burnt pasta, even before a single student’s lived there.

    aracer
    Member

    Northwind wrote:

    Tell him, if she’s feeling freaked out by the choice, give me a call on 0131 451 3451

    Thanks – YGM

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