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Students urged not to panic but seek advice if they miss first-choice courses

Pupils missing their first choice for university when the A-level results are released this week have been urged not to panic and instead turn to teachers for advice and support.

Tens of thousands of schoolchildren across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to find out on Thursday how they fared on their first exams since the coronavirus pandemic.

Grades are expected to decrease overall compared to last year when students were assessed by teachers, but should still be higher than 2019.

This year’s race for college places is expected to be one of the most competitive ever, with nearly 40% of students expecting to use the clearing system to find a place on a course.

The Admissions Service for Universities and Colleges (UCas) has acknowledged that bid preparation has been “more conservative” this year, with chief executive Clare Marchant warning that Results Day will not be a “pain-free” experience for students.

On Sunday Ofqual – the examinations authority in England – and Ucas sent a letter to students assuring them most will still secure their first choice of university.

Students unable to find a place on their first-choice course have been advised by a Heads’ Union to avoid panic and seek advice instead.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said students should remember their teachers are “very experienced in advising and supporting” other options.

He said: “Universities have created their offerings taking all of these factors into account and where students are missing out on places in their first choice courses there will be plenty of other options.

“We would urge students in this situation not to panic and to speak to their school or college where their teachers are very experienced in providing advice and support.”

He said it was “important to remember that this cohort has been more disrupted than any other group of students since World War II” after spending recent years “in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been massively disruptive to them has learning”.

We would urge students in this situation not to panic and speak to their school or college where their teachers are very experienced in providing advice and supportGeoff Barton, ASCL General Secretary

Mr Barton said the decision for this year’s grades to reflect a halfway point between 2021 and 2019 was an adjustment made “to try to mitigate the learning disruption as much as possible”.

However, he cautioned that the impact on learning and outcomes “will likely vary depending on how different schools, colleges and communities are impacted”.

He said the increased competition for the most selective universities and degree programs was “due to an increase in the number of 18-year-olds and had nothing to do with adjustments in assessment standards”.

He added: “Universities have created their offerings with all of these factors in mind and if students are missing out on places in their first choice courses there are many other options available.

“We would urge students in this situation not to panic and to speak to their school or college where their teachers are very experienced in providing advice and support.”

During the clearing process, students can see which courses or universities might be available to them if they need a plan B.

Ucas has created a series of podcasts to help students prepare for Exam Results Day and said more than 250 people will be supporting students on its various channels on Thursday.

Students can visit www.ucas.com/contactus to learn more.

Pupils in Scotland received the results of their higher exams last week, with the pass rate down from last year but slightly above pre-pandemic levels as of 2019.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/students-urged-not-to-panic-but-seek-advice-if-they-miss-first-choice-courses-41917063.html Students urged not to panic but seek advice if they miss first-choice courses

Linh

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