15 August 2019
It’s that time of year again. Nervous teenagers and students are heading to their colleges or awaiting the post arriving to discover how they’ve done in their A levels.
Many are picking up the phone nervously trying to secure their spot at university through clearing, others are putting steps in place now that their spot at university is confirmed, whilst others are looking to different routes to enter the world of work or further education.
I can’t help but think that A Level Results Day is a little cruel to these young people. The amount of pressure on these students, who are more often than not just teenagers, is enormous. For most, it seems that their future rests on the results they read on that piece of paper today.
While the papers may feature the top students jumping for joy, which is fantastic for them, my mind always goes to the underdogs. Those who are not academically minded, who have struggled through two years of study to come out with mediocre results. Perhaps that’s because I was one of those kids. I managed to get four Unclassified grades in my A Level studies.
You are more than your exam results
Every year on A Level Results Day, I write or speak about my grades. I do that to highlight that it is not the end of the world if your exam results are not as you expected. There are so many more options nowadays, alternatives to university and other ways to study.
I am a passionate advocate of apprenticeships. These courses provide on-the-job training so that people as young as 16 can enter the workplace and gain real-world experience while they train. Apprenticeships give an invaluable start to working life.
For those looking to go to university, I am glad to hear conversations around reforming the ‘clearing’ process. The stress that this causes, the long phone calls and waiting to hear, is completely unnecessary. At the end of the day, offering a place at university based on predicted grades is a flawed system. Sitting exams earlier and applying once you have your results is the most logical alternative that I have heard recently. I don’t understand why we don’t do it that way now.
Either way, if you are getting your results today, or if your children or grandchildren are, just remember: we are more than grades on a piece of paper. It’s attitude that really counts, and if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything you want.