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As A-level results day arrives, this is what happens next...

PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:03 18 August 2016

Students celebrate their results last year. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Students celebrate their results last year. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

So it’s here. After a whole summer of waiting, today’s the day A-level results are finally published.

More pupils celebrating last year's resultsMore pupils celebrating last year's results

If you’re planning to go to university then today is pivotal. But try not to worry too much. While you’ll no doubt be hoping for the best, there are plenty of options available if you don’t get the results you were hoping for.

The first thing you’ll need to do is get those results, though.

Each school or college will have different times you can go and collect them, and most will list their opening times online.

If you don’t want to wait to find out if you’ve made it into one of your choices, UCAS track is open from 8am onwards, and can tell you whether you’ve made it into your firm or insurance choice.

They can’t provide you with your grades, though, so if you’ve missed out you’ll need to get these as soon as possible for the clearing process.

If you’ve received the grades you needed, then congratulations.

The hard part is over, and you just need to wait for your confirmation letter to arrive in the post (although not all universities send these, so don’t panic if you don’t receive one).

But if you’re one of those who didn’t quite get what they were hoping for, all is not lost. The word “clearing” has been terrifying students for years, but the process is often misunderstood.

About 60,000 students go through it every year, and it’s important to remember it’s there to help you get on a course that’s most suited 
to you.

What’s more, it’s not a gathering place for the worst courses from the worst universities. There will be a whole host of places available through clearing from a broad range of universities, and while you’re likely to want to stick to the course you’ve already decided on, you can in reality apply for a place on any course you want.

While spur-of-the-moment decisions on the next three years of your life aren’t advisable, clearing can give you the opportunity to reassess some of the choices you made a year ago.

But if there’s nothing there that takes your fancy, then don’t just take a course for the sake of it.

You can always reapply next year using the grades you have, or re-sit some exams to improve your marks.

And that’s the gist of it. The most important thing to remember is that there will always be options for you regardless of your results, so try not to place too much emphasis on them. And lastly, good luck!

For all of our A-level news, click the box on the right

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