I decided to focus this month’s blog on results day and the different feelings you may experience in the lead up to going to university. I have gathered the opinions of my twin brother and mum by asking various questions, so that you can get a feel of the different feelings people have on results day and about going to university in general, because (trust me) it’s very different for everyone! I hope these answers reassure you that what you may be feeling is completely normal and helps you feel more prepared for results day!
Question 1: Describe your feelings in the lead up to results day
Me: I felt nervous but also very excited! I tried so hard to remember how my results went but no matter how hard I thought, all I could think of was the bad exams or the questions I couldn’t answer. This made me feel so nervous but then I also felt really excited to find out what I would be doing at the end of September and for the next academic year, whether it was university, a gap year or working; I just wanted to know!
Twin brother: I felt curious and excited to see what the next chapter of my life would entail but also nervous for what my results could have been.
Mum: In the lead up to their results day, I felt anxious and sick because I knew the work that they had put in and I just hoped that it all paid off! But I tried not to show it too much and reassured them that no matter the outcome we would figure it all out.
Question 2: What are your memories of A-level results day?
Me: I remember being hardly able to sleep the night before and waking up super early on the day! We were able to go into school to collect our results from 8 am onwards. I remember the drive to school being such a rollercoaster of emotions. When we got there, we were able to collect our results in alphabetical order of our surname, so luckily, we were near the beginning. But one thing I did differently from my brother was look on UCAS track before opening my results to see I had (luckily) got in to my first-choice university! I felt this took huge pressure in opening the big brown envelope with my results in and made me feel so much calmer as I knew I must have done well enough to get in to my first choice. However, my brother did it the other way around and opened his results and then checked UCAS, so in-between those processes he still felt nervous as he wasn’t sure if he had done enough to get in to his choices.
Twin Brother: I remember results day being very hectic, some people were crying with happiness and some crying with sadness. There were lots of people calling universities after opening their results (including me!).
Mum: I didn’t go in to their school with them to collect their results as they wanted to do it alone and independently. But when they called I remember feeling relieved that they could finally see their results and was very proud of what they both got! I didn’t personally understand the whole process of applying to university and clearing, however I knew they were in safe hands at the school with the support of each other and teachers, and I ultimately wanted them to make the decisions for themselves, knowing that I would support whatever university they individually chose.
I decided to also ask my brother about the clearing process and how he felt going through it as he knew a lot more than me. I also asked if he had any tips for anyone who may feel they might need to go through clearing and this is what he said:
‘So, if you don’t make it into your first-choice university or your insurance (or you have changed your mind over summer and don’t want to go to either of them- it can happen) then the first thing to do is to phone the university and ask them to enter you into clearing. They’ll ask why etc and just be honest and say you don’t want to do the course anymore. So, my first tip is before results day, in the weeks leading up or even last minute the night before, create a list of university clearing phone numbers that you may be interested in, alongside the course name/ UCAS code and notes about the course so you know what you’re talking about on the phone (I cannot stress the time saving this will enable you to have on the day because clearing places go thick and fast). When creating the list ensure you have a variety of grades so that you have covered whatever your results sheet may show, as well as a variety of courses if you don’t mind doing so. One last thing to think about before results day if you’re worried you may not get your grades (which is like most people), is to think of all of your options; from different universities/courses to jobs/internships, to a gap year. This makes the build-up to results day feel less stressful as you know you always have a ‘back up’ plan.
When you have finally entered clearing you can then start to make your calls to universities you’re interested in. You can have other people call universities for you, like my sister did for me, but as soon as they picked up (which can be a long time due to the volume of calls they receive) I made sure I was speaking as they normally ask for the applicant anyway, so it again just saved time. On the phone I tried to be as calm and relaxed as possible (even though deep down I was panicking), the people on the other end, 9/10 understood that it’s a nerve wracking experience and tried to make it as smooth as possible by asking easy questions about my results and why I chose that course/university to go through in clearing. Then if a university has offered you a place you then ultimately have the choice if you want to accept it or not.’
I thought I should let you know that my brother ended up accepting a place from Loughborough University! (yep you read that right, we both ended up at the same university)
Question 3: How did you feel about yourself/your children moving away from home
Me: I was looking forward to having my own room, because at home I shared with my older sister. I was also really excited to meet new people and start my university experience. I have always been quite independent and could do my washing and cook and everything before I went to university, so I wasn’t too worried about fending for myself (unlike my brother who wouldn’t know how to even turn on an oven and it was inevitable that, even though mum put us on a mini cooking course, he would still live off microwave meals).
Twin Brother: I felt quite nervous because I had to go through clearing, so I didn’t actually know much about Loughborough. Also, I couldn’t apply for accommodation until after my sister which worried me about whether I would like any accommodation that I got! But I was also excited to see what university would be like.
Mum: I felt sad about them both leaving home and living so far but at the same time was so happy they were going together, it made it slightly easier! I was excited and anxious for them but wanted to support them in their first step of independence living away from home. I was worried about them cooking for themselves so booked them in to a 2-day cooking school for the end of August (much to their embarrassment- I think they only went to make me feel more relaxed about them going to university). I felt lonely in the first weeks of them leaving but luckily, we were able to Facetime which made it easier.
After asking my brother and mum these questions I really saw a difference in feelings between us all as well as similarities. It opened my eyes to see all of the feelings and outcomes results day can have, and that’s not even including the rollercoasters I know some of my friends had. I suppose the main thing this taught me (and I hope has shown you) is that results day can be very unpredictable (e.g changing your mind or entering clearing) as well as precisely as planned (e.g getting into your first choice) … But the most important thing is to go into it with an open mind, knowing there’s not much you can do to change the results. All you can do is prepare for any outcome so that no matter what, you can stay calm and solve any unexpected situations!
For now, don’t stress about it, focus on your exams and start to think about results day at the beginning of August!
Best of luck!