A Levels Results Day 2023: What should you do next?

A levels results day 2023
After months of hard work the day A levels students have been waiting for has finally come. Source: AFP

A Levels results day 2023 just passed on Aug. 17. It’s the day you’ll finally receive the results for an exam that you’ve likely spent countless hours studying for.

The proportion of students receiving top A Levels results has fallen as examiners return to pre-coronavirus grading, but this year’s marks remain above 2019 levels, national figures have shown. 

The UCAS figures show that 51,210 international students have been accepted for university places in the UK this year, compared to 52,440 last year, representing a 2.3% drop.

The top three countries with “placed applicants” are China, with 11,630 acceptances in 2023 compared to 13,180 in 2022; followed by India, with 4,780 acceptances versus 4,050; and Hong Kong, with 3,050 acceptances versus 3,420.

“International education is something we’re really good at in this country, and it’s one of our biggest exports. I think it’s close to making about £30 billion for our economy, and it’s also a real part of our global influence and soft power,” says UK education secretary Gillian Keegan.

The 79% domestic acceptance rate is down on 2022 figures when 81% of UK students earned places at their first choice institutions, but up on 2019 data, when 74% did so.

So, what do you do once you’ve gotten your results? 

First of all, congratulations! A Levels is one of the toughest school-leaving exams, and the fact that you have made it this far is an achievement that should be recognised. 

A common route for students is to proceed with their higher education, such as pursuing a bachelor’s degree, a diploma, a professional qualification, or even enrolling in a polytechnic. 

Upon completing one of these programmes, some may opt to continue with their master’s or step into the working world.

If you got better grades than your offer require, well done! This means you’ll likely get into your course of choice.

Once one of your chosen institutions confirms your acceptance, you should move on to the next step of your admissions process: submitting proof of your qualifications.

A levels results day 2023

Serena An decided to take a gap year to learn Korean before she pursued her studies at MIT. Source: AFP

What if you are not ready for university?

Should you go straight to uni if you did well for your A Levels?

Well, it depends. 

Choosing what to study in uni is a difficult decision to make. While many may already know what they want to do, it’s okay if you are still figuring out what’s your best option. 

Taking a gap year could open up a chance to explore different possibilities. You can try other things to find out where your passion lies. 

Many options are available, including part-time jobs, finding a hobby, attending workshops, and even travelling.

 Take Serena An, for example. 

She is a high-achieving, award-winning math whiz who put MIT on hold to take a gap year to explore her passion for the Korean Language. 

Similar to her, here are some options you can consider as you press the pause button on attending uni:

1. Gain work experience

Whether you choose to take up a part-time job or an internship, gaining work experience can benefit you in many ways.

Not only will you gain insights into a field you are interested in, but it will also contribute to your skillsets, portfolio and experience.

This experience could better prepare you for uni as you will get a clear idea of the programme you are interested in.

2. Complete online courses

Completing an online course is a great way to fill your time during a gap year. Though short, these courses can help you broaden your knowledge and gain new skills. 

The good news is that many websites are available for you to take these short courses that are free and provide you with a certificate upon completion. You can learn a new language, improve your writing skills, master business techniques, and discover how to code. 

Here are some websites worth checking out: 

  • Coursera
  • Duolingo
  • Udemy
A levels results day 2023

Did you know J.K. Rowling was rejected from Oxford University after completing her A levels exam? Source: AFP

A Levels results day 2023: What if you didn’t score well?

While not getting the results you hoped for may feel like the end of the world, we promise it isn’t.

If you didn’t get the results you wanted or got rejected from the university you applied to, don’t be disheartened; plenty of other options are available. 

After all, getting rejected happens to the best of us — even famous Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling was rejected from her dream university. 

Rowling achieved two As and a B for her A Levels but was unfortunately rejected from Oxford University. 

Unfettered, she applied to other universities and eventually went to the University of Exeter and gained a degree in French. 

The most important thing to do in this situation is not to give up. 

Imagine if Walt Disney had given up after rejection — the world would never know Mickey Mouse. The animator, film producer and entrepreneur tried 300 times until his idea was accepted.

A levels results day 2023

Charu received over 200 rejections before finally earning an internship. Source: AFP

Charu from India experienced a similar situation after completing her master’s programme at Grenoble Ecole de Management. 

She received over 200 rejections before being accepted for an internship at Boukman Rhum. Despite the setback, she remained resilient throughout the process.

Likewise, not achieving the grades you want or narrowly missing out on the grades you need to get into your top course choice isn’t the end of the road. 

Still, there’s no denying that your A Levels results have a big impact on the next step in your academic journey.

So, wipe away those tears and get to work. 

Here’s what you can do if you didn’t get the scores you wanted during the A Levels results day 2023.  

Before you start looking at other options, be sure to sign in to your UCAS Track. You are still likely to be accepted into one of the unis you applied for. 

Though you may have failed to meet the requirements of your original offer, some unis may offer you a place in a different course. 

A levels results day 2023

If you didn’t score high during A levels results day 2023, do not worry. There are still many options available. Source: AFP

If that isn’t the case, here are some other options to consider: 

1. Retaking the exams

Many students opt to retake their exams to improve their grades. You can discuss the options for resitting the exams with your school or college.

This gives you another opportunity to achieve the desired grades and meet the entry requirements for universities or other higher education institutions.

2. Checking out alternative paths

If retaking your A levels is not feasible or not something you wish to pursue, you can consider alternative paths, such as:

Beyond this, you can consider to opt for UCAS Clearing.

A levels results day 2023

Clearing was introduced for universities to fill up any vacancies they have for any courses. Source: AFP

What is Clearing?

If you are not appealing grades, prepare for placement via UCAS Clearing 2023. 

Clearing is a way for unis and colleges to occupy any remaining openings in their courses. 

 According to UCAS, Clearing can be used if:

  • You’re applying for a course after June 30, 2023.
  • You require assistance in finding courses for enrollment because you didn’t meet the grades or prerequisites for your preferred firm or insurance course selections.
  • You haven’t obtained a conditional offer or found any acceptable offers among the courses you applied for via UCAS.
  • You’ve paid the 27 pounds multiple-choice application fee.

Typically, there are over 30,000 vacant spots.

Following the announcement of A Level results, unis often find unfilled spots in their courses due to some students not meeting the minimum grade requirement.

You will automatically be entered into Clearing if you meet the grade requirements. 

This year, Clearing will commence on July 5, preceding the A Levels results day 2023 on Aug. 17.

This early start is because Clearing is also designed for those applying after June 30 who don’t have offers or have declined their firm place.

The Clearing process will conclude on Oct 17, 2023.

To help students, UCAS has developed Clearing Plus, a more stress-free way to use Clearing.

What is Clearing Plus?

This new feature increases your chance of being matched with a course that aligns with your ideal university.

UCAS will first analyse your original choices, qualifications, and grades.

Then, it compares it against courses universities and colleges have made available and their entry requirements.

That said, not everyone is eligible for Clearing Plus. If you are, you will see the “See matches” button under UCAS Track.

Plus, not every uni provides Clearing opportunities.

The University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, for example, don’t have Clearing options available because it goes against their policies.

But don’t worry — many other top UK universities do offer Clearing slots.

Last year, this selection encompassed institutions like the University of Edinburgh, King’s College London, University of Manchester, University of Warwick, and University of Glasgow.

All of these institutions are ranked in the top 100 unis within the UK.