60% of A-level students concerned they won't make the grade for university

August, 2023

As A-level results are predicted to be lower than last summer due to the return to pre-pandemic standards, Prospects at Jisc reports the majority of students are concerned that they won't get the grades they need for university

Prospects, which runs the UK's largest graduate careers website, found that 60% of A-level students are concerned that they won't achieve the required entry criteria for their preferred course.

This is a bigger concern for students than the cost of studying or whether they'll enjoy the course.

The survey also found that when students are deciding what to study, they are most influenced by their passion for a subject than their career prospects after university.

When choosing where to study, students are most interested in finding somewhere that has the subject and course content they are looking for than an institution's reputation, facilities or location.

A third of students haven't yet had any careers guidance, so Prospects is urging concerned students to seek professional advice. Those who had sought advice found careers advisors and teachers the most helpful.

Chris Rea, a careers expert at Prospects for Jisc, said, 'For students who are concerned that they might not make the grade for their chosen course, there are a number of things they can do to feel more confident and prepared to deal with what may happen.

'It's important they use their time wisely in the run up to results day, gathering their thoughts on what they'd like to do if things don't quite go to plan. There are lots of options, such as going through Clearing or taking time out with a gap year. Teachers and careers advisors are best placed to provide support.'

How to prepare for A-level results day

  1. Prepare for Clearing - Get a feel for alternative universities and courses by gathering previous research, browsing websites, viewing virtual tours and checking social media. Be prepared for an informal phone interview and prepare a list of questions to ask.
  2. Gather important information - If you don't make the mark, it's worth double checking with the university whether they may still be accepted. There's also certain information you'll need to start the Clearing process. For example, personal statement and UCAS number, GCSE results, details of conditional offers, phone numbers for university contacts including UCAS and Clearing.
  3. Get in early - Exam boards release results at 8am. Results can be collected from school/college, so find out what time they open, or search for results on the UCAS Hub. Starting early will give you chance to digest your results and, if necessary, prepare for Clearing.
  4. Don't forget the basics - If you're collecting results from school/college, make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone (and charger) and a notepad and pen to take with you.
  5. Seek careers advice - If you don't have a Plan B, then this is a good time for careers guidance. Talk to teachers or professional advisors for support.

Further career advice as well as the Job Match online career planning tool can be found at Prospects.ac.uk.

Media enquiries

Clare Tregaskis, Prospects and Jisc Student Services, clare.tregaskis@jisc.ac.uk, 07792 429227.

About Prospects Early Careers Survey

Prospects Early Careers Survey is an annual poll of students and graduates to find out about their career plans and their experiences over the previous 12 months. For the 2023 edition, students and graduates were surveyed during February and March 2023. The analysis is based on 4,483 responses.

About Prospects

Prospects has worked at the heart of higher education for nearly 50 years. Part of Jisc Student Services, the directorate collaborates with government, universities and employers to improve student and graduate career outcomes through information, guidance and opportunities. It includes Prospects.ac.uk, which is visited by 2.1 million students and graduates each month, Prospects Luminate and the UK's official postgraduate course database. Jisc Student Services also manages Prospects Hedd degree verification and fraud services.

About Jisc 

Jisc's vision is for the UK to be a world leader in technology for education and research. It owns and operates the super-fast national research and education network, Janet, with built-in cyber security protection.  Jisc also provides technology solutions for members (colleges, universities and research centres) and customers (public sector bodies), helps members save time and money by negotiating sector-wide deals and provides advice and practical assistance on digital technology. Jisc is funded by the UK higher and further education and research funding bodies and member institutions.

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