The publication of the A Level results a week ago, was something in which I had a deeply personal interest: two young people under my roof anxiously awaited the outcome. Nobody got much sleep but by 7.30 it was all over bar the shouting. One got their ‘first choice’ university place, the other the ‘back up choice’, the only outcome that really matters for those who are planning a Uni career.
Anxiety turned to elation in a moment but it’s a strange little moment, different from my own experience in that, now, the key information is there, on line, from about 6.30 am. However, the actual results are not. One exam board offers on line access with the appropriate PIN number, assuming you have had the foresight to put it somewhere handy, but not many youngsters will have taken all their subjects with the same board. A trip into school or college is therefore required, academic (so to speak) in our case but supposing the UCAS message had been negative? Another anxious wait to find out how close the results had been to the ‘offers’ and whether it was worth ringing one of the two ‘offer’ unis or instead to jump into the scramble that is ‘clearing’. Fortunately, we were spared that and it does sound like it was extra chaotic this year with a ‘bidding war’ for some of the better candidates to persuade them to ‘trade up’.
Standing back now I do wonder if this is the best system. It leaves all perilously short of time to organise finance, accommodation and so on and, generally, to get your head round one of the most significant turning points of your life.
Best wishes to all who are off to uni this time round!