The alternative route to uni: What to do if your grades aren't good enough

The alternative route to uni: What to do if your grades aren't good enough A-Level Exams by julian-

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 20th August 2010 and has been read 24138 times.

As many hundreds of thousands of A-Level students are coming to terms with their results, many have to resolve themselves to the fact they won’t make the grade this year.

More than 150,000 students could miss out on university, despite getting the required grades, due to the government’s cap on places, amid a crisis in the system of higher education funding. 

As Nansi Ellis, head of education policy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, proclaims “Does the government want to be infamous for casting this generation [of students] adrift with nowhere to turn?”


Carl Gilleard, Chief of Executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, sees the situation differently.

“My advice for school leavers that feel university is the right route for them, but miss out on a place this year, is to consider getting some broader experience which will help strengthen their application to university next time around.

“Employers do not penalize graduates who have taken a year out before going into higher education; indeed many regard the experience as providing added value," Gilleard said.

ThirdYearAbroad, run by students for students, can offer a helping hand. Packed with information about trying life out abroad, whether to work, volunteer or study, A-Level students can make the most of taking a gap year, by joining in community projects or even earning some extra cash. Plus, as it's a social network, you can easily sign in with your Facebook account and ask for some advice in the forum, check out other people's profiles and much more!

“Not getting into your chosen university can be tough”, says Charlotte Henry, would-be Geography student for September 2010. “I decided to go on a volunteering project thanks to the information here on the site, to do something with my time whilst I reapply for next year”. Going off abroad and doing something constructive with the impromptu year out can make a world of a difference; both on the UCAS form and later on in life, as it highlights quick-thinking, compromise and independent thought – all key skills for the job market in general.  

Take out a language course, go work in a hotel or help build accommodation for those affected by natural disasters – all of these paths are here, just at the click of a mouse.

Not all is lost then - students can look forward to making their sudden change of direction one of the most exciting year of their lives.

Quotes by Gilleard and Ellis from Reuters


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