You’ve worked hard all year and waited months for your results to be released, only to be greeted with lower than expected results.
Disappointing is not the word!
And then comes the realisation that these results may have an affect on your career or education plans. But, don’t panic! There are always ways around this disappointment, and this new direction must be treated as an opportunity.
Worry 1: I won’t get into my chosen university
It's an understandable concern and the first fear of any student who opens an envelope to unexpected results. But hope is not lost!
First, open up conversations with all of the institutions that gave you a conditional offer; they may accept you with lower grades than they have asked for.
Have a conversation with the admissions tutors or relevant lecturers to find out their thoughts. Get advice from your school careers or university adviser on how to approach this based on your individual circumstance and hopefully you will receive an offer.
If you still don’t receive an offer and you have decided you still want to go to university this academic year, this is the time to go through Clearing. Start by checking the UCAS search tool for Clearing courses, and then speak directly with the institutions.
If this route doesn’t work out for you, you might consider applying for a higher or degree apprenticeship (or equivalent), where you can study for a degree whilst earning and learning on the job. Or there are a host of entry level positions you could apply for, earning money whilst gaining experience and considering your options.
Worry 2: I’m graduating with a 2:2 or 3rd
There are many reasons why you might have left university with a 2:2 or 3rd. Perhaps you had some extenuating circumstances which led to this result, maybe you simply struggled with your subject choices or were stumped by one particular module which brought your whole grade average down, or maybe you just hadn’t applied yourself fully.
Whatever the reason, speak with your university careers service. Every year they see students who haven’t achieved the grades they had wanted, and they may help you:
- Come to terms with your result and discuss ways to mentally move past it, potentially referring you to other support services within the university
- Decide on a strategy to speak with employers you hold offers with. A lower than expected result can affect the offers made to you by employers but your university careers adviser can help you decide the best way to approach a conversation with them, based on your individual situation. Employers are used to speaking with students about their extenuating circumstances, so don’t let a difficult situation hold you back
- Decide how to discuss your result with any employers you are interviewing with or applying to, based on your individual situation
- Formulate a career search plan for making applications
- Make the most of your CVs, cover letters and applications
How to cope with the disappointment
It’s normal to feel disappointed and discouraged when you receive results lower than you had expected. Taking practical steps is a very positive way to move forward and finding out what, if any, impact the results will have on your future plans. You will feel more in control of your situation if you take small steps.
The advice above demonstrates how important it is to open up conversations with employers, careers advisers and admissions tutors to help you move forward. But, it is also important to speak with your friends and families to get your worries off your chest. They will help you realise that you are not a failure and help to put any concerns into perspective. They will have some words of encouragement to keep you going. You might consider speaking with a trusted teacher or counsellor too.
While the shock of your result settles in, be kind to yourself. Do things that will help you relax; play video games, hang out with your friends, meditate, go for a run, paint!
Whatever you do next, will bring a whole host of opportunities to you - and will allow you to take a step back and reevaluate your next steps. You’ll learn lots about yourself during this time, including how you deal with unexpected situations and all of these learnings will make you stronger.
Do not judge me by my successes; judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. ― Nelson Mandela
And keep talking…!