A-level and Clearing can be a stressful process, but Top Universities has come up with the top five reasons why you don't need to stress out over your not-so-hot results.
1. It's fate
If your A-level results have meant you haven't made it into your top university of choice then perhaps it just wasn't meant to be. It may not feel like it at the moment, as you frantically search through the Clearing process looking for other universities to attend, but you could end up at a university that was meant for you. That's the thing about Clearing. You now have so many other options open to you - just at the time when you think all doors are closing fast in front of you. So keep your head up, think positive and you could find yourself studying at a university that offers the best undergraduate student experience you could ever have hoped for.
2. Go down under
UK is home to many of the world's top universities - check out the QS World University Rankings if you don't believe us. But there are top universities in other parts of the world, all of which welcome international students. In the Northern Hemisphere, the academic year runs from September through to July, but down under in Australia and New Zealand, the academic year is from March to November. That means you still have time to enrol at a university for 2011. The only catch about studying abroad is the rules and regulations you have to meet, mainly concerned with visas and finance - so you need to be organized. Check out Top Universities country guides to Australia and New Zealand, and you could be heading down under before you know it.
3. Take a gap year
Missing out on your place at a top university this year may be a blessing in disguise. You could take a gap year instead. All you need is a round-the-world ticket, a few pennies in your bank and you're set. You can do voluntary or paid work along the way to fund your travels, and in the meantime you'll be rewarded with an insight into new cultures, new language and a whole new world. It's also a great addition to your CV. As long as your gap year isn't one long year of partying - and you do actually do something constructive along the way - employers will be keen to find out about the skills you picked up, and you may even return bilingual!
4. Reapply next year
In the current situation, not only could you find yourself without the A-level grades you need to make it into your university of choice, but you could well find yourself without a place through Clearing, simply because there aren't enough places available. But that doesn't mean you can't reapply next year. So if you're in this situation, use the time to research top universities - both at home and abroad - here on Top Universities. There's also the Top Universities Fair in London that you can attend in March where you'll be able to meet universities and their admissions officers from all around the globe.
5. The alternatives
If you're desperate to study but you just haven't made it into a university lecture hall then look at alternative study options. It could be via distance learning or through a community college. You could enrol in computer courses, language courses, or you may even find a trade to qualify in. It doesn't have to replace university, it can just be a stepping stone towards it, and when you do finally make it into your undergraduate degree, you'll have some additional skills to bring to your studies as well as some real life experience. No education goes to waste, just put it on your CV and you'll be more attractive to employers in the long run.