Exam Results Helpline Careers Adviser Iwan Williams gives his top 10 tips for parents on how they can help their teenagers on A Level results day:
1. Be prepared for plan B: Before results day itself encourage your teenager to start thinking about other courses and/or universities that they would be prepared to consider in Clearing, it could help them get a head start once they get their results.
2. Keep calm and don’t panic: We take calls from students who are panicking that they haven’t got the results they need and the first thing we tell them is to try to stay calm. This goes for parents too! If you can try not panic, it will really help your teenager. If at all possible encourage them to take a deep breath and keep a clear head as it will be much easier to think through their next steps if they are thinking clearly.
3. Remember to reassure: Try to remain positive, whatever the results. Your child may need reassurance from you that everything will work out and it will all be OK.
4. Time is on your side: There is no rush to make any quick decisions if you are thinking about a course in Clearing. Choosing a University can be difficult but when students go through Clearing and often haven’t even visited the University, it’s an even bigger decision to make. Clearing doesn’t open until the afternoon and so this gives your child time to reassess and have a good think about what they want to do before they start the process.
5. Make sure you’ve got fuel: If it is possible to visit the university offering a Clearing place before committing to it that can be really helpful so parents should be prepared to do some driving at fairly short notice or fund a few unexpected train journeys!
6. Learn about Adjustment: Getting better grades than expected is obviously a great situation to be in but it can pose a dilemma for your child about whether to stick with their original choice or to use Adjustment to choose a different course or University that was previously unavailable to them. It’s worth having an understanding of the Adjustment process and you can find more information here.
7. Open your mind about a gap year: Taking a gap year can be an effective way for your child to take time to think about all of their options. Used constructively, gap years can look good on a CV and can provide an opportunity to gain some work experience, making applicants more of a valuable contender for university or for the work place.
8. Consider earning whilst learning: If your teenager knows what they want to do career-wise then this could be a good option for them. It also gives them the opportunity to earn while they learn.
9. Remember re-takes: If your son or daughter thinks that they could have got a better grade in specific subjects or modules, then it might be possible to re-sit the exam and reapply for university next year. Your child will need to speak with their school about this ASAP. Be prepared that occasionally some universities look for higher grades from re-sit students so they may need to check specific Universities views on re-sit candidates.
10. Pick up the phone: If you want to find out more information, support or advice don’t forget that the Exam Results Helpline is here to help parents as well as the students themselves so give us a call on 0808 100 8000 or Twitter @ERHelp or Facebook.