The long wait is nearly over…
A level exam results day is this Thursday (August 15th!) and by mid-morning our teens will know their results and whether they have made those all-important grades.
Dad.info staffers with teens have endured the long summer wait with all its painful ups and downs. We have listened as our kids have shared their hopes and fears. We have supported them as they try and second guess the results. Apparently, the Biology paper was a disaster! But now we are in the final countdown all we want to know is the results and how the next phase of our teens young lives will unfold.
As parents we need to mentally prepare for whatever their results are, good or disappointing. There are always options. In 2018, more than 60,000 students missed out on their original offer and found a place through Clearing. (The system which helps Universities match students without places to courses with spaces.)
Dad.Info spoke with Dr Lisette Johnston ex-BBC World News Editor and Head of School at ScreenSpace, part of London’s MetFilm School. Dr. Johnson remembers how her Dad made time to support her when she got her results.
“One of the most helpful things my Dad did for me when I was making decisions about what I was going to do after getting my exam results was to sit me down at the dining room table with a piece of paper. Together we drew a map of the options available. These included retaking to get a better grade, taking a gap year or study abroad option, and applying to go to university with my current results. Part of that process was about my Dad listening and asking questions- why did I want to go to university? What was important to me? And, also being clear that from him there were no expectations.
Keep your option open
My Dad’s mantra in life was ‘keep your options open’, and for me this meant applying to university. The fact it meant leaving home meant that this was a really important decision for me. But, Dad made clear that the decision was mine. As a parent myself now, although my child is not yet at that stage, though it kills us, sometimes we have to let the little cherubs fly, make their own decisions, and in turn make their own mistakes.
There is a hashtag #nowrongpath, and I think that’s the most important thing to remind young people of. There is more than one route to the same destination. If you don’t get the grades you expected you may end up on an even better, more exciting journey to another place.”
On Thursday if your child has to go through Clearing you are part of what can feel like a brutal, antiquated system that is engaged in universities bidding for the students who get the highest grades. It doesn’t mean these students are the most talented, enthusiastic or passionate… they just have the top marks. It’s important that you don’t let the system get you or your child down – keep positive and don’t let it put you off.”
So, be prepared, if your son or daughter missed their grades and you’re not sure what to do next here’s Dr Lisette Johnston top 5 tips:
1. Ready, steady… research
It’s worth spending some time considering and researching a Plan B before you get your results. Have a look for similar courses to your chosen one, which might have lower entry requirements. If your heart is set on a particular university look at their clearing pages now and register with them to save time on the 15th – if you do have to call them during Clearing.
2. Stay calm!
It’s the moment you’ve been working towards and your dreams are shattered. Remember this is just a blip, a bump in the road! Take some deep breaths, collect your thoughts, and remember there is ALWAYS a different path to take.
There’s lots of help out there. Your initial reaction may be to shut yourself away, Don’t! Speak to your friends and parents, and don’t forget there are experienced staff at your school or college who can help you.
4. Be brave
Pick up the phone and call the universities you are interested in. Ask lots of questions and don’t just take the first opportunity that comes along. Make sure it’s the right one for you. Write down the questions you want to ask before you call, and if it’s a university you haven’t visited you may want to find out about facilities, accommodation and student support. This is your opportunity to discover what is best for you, don’t hang up the phone until all your questions are answered.
5. Keep an open mind
If you don’t know what to do next then you can always give yourself some time to consider all your options. You could defer going to university until next year, it’s only 12 months and it will give you time to decide what you really want to do. You may decide you want to earn some money and get a job, or re-sit your exams, or perhaps consider a different degree or apprenticeship.
Good luck, stay calm, remember there is always another chance.