Parents' and carers' guide

Results day

Results day can be a really emotional experience. For most it will be a celebration of two years of hard work and securing a place at their first choice university but for a few students their initial plans might have to change and this can be really unnerving. Whatever the outcome the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. There are lots of options available and they can still go on to have a fantastic university experience.

Results Day - Advice and Top Tips

Essential advice and guidance for students receiving their exam results and planning on coming to University.

Preparation before the day

  1. Have a positive but honest conversation with your son or daughter to see how they feel they performed in their final exams. If they have genuine concerns then some prior research into alternative options can make a real difference on the day.
  2. Get them to list all of the things that are important to them with regards to university – course, placement opportunities, geographical location etc. It is really important to remember that if they do need to look for a different institution that they still find one that meets the criteria.
  3. If you feel that your son or daughter has been affected by mitigating circumstances (such as illness or bereavement) then it is worth discussing this with their school/college and if necessary contacting their chosen universities in advance of results day. This allows them to take this into consideration when making decisions as to whether or not a student’s application is successful.
  4. Gather all paperwork associated with UCAS together and place it in one folder. If a student needs to contact their university choice they may be asked to quote information such as their UCAS ID number. Having all of this to hand can help speed up conversations.

On the day

The most important thing to remember is for students to stay local. Universities will want to speak directly to applicants and this can prove difficult if they are away on holiday with no access to a computer and/or their UCAS information.

At approximately 8am students will find that their status on UCAS track will change:

Conditional Offer changed to Unconditional Offer

The student has been accepted onto their chosen course.

If a student hasn’t met the conditions of their Firm choice they may have done so for their Insurance – in which case this will have updated accordingly.

Conditional Offer changed to Unsuccessful

Unfortunately the student hasn’t met the conditions of their offer and their place has been withdrawn.

No change (Conditional Offer remains a Conditional Offer)

Don’t panic – this can be for a few reasons. Most commonly it is because the university hasn’t had all of the student’s results confirmed (for instance, they may be waiting for a GCSE resit) but it may be because a decision is still being made.


Whatever the status on UCAS track, your son or daughter should still collect their results and the associated paperwork. Make sure you find out the opening times in advance.

If a student has been unsuccessful or there is no change to their status on their UCAS track try and urge them to remain as calm as possible. Make sure that they have all of their paperwork with them and a fully charged mobile phone to make calls to other universities.


Unfortunately, not all students will secure the grades that they were hoping for and results day can quickly turn to panic. Try and support your son or daughter through this by keeping them as calm as possible. They should listen to advice from their teachers and not make any rush decisions. Clearing is a UCAS process that works for thousands of students, most of which will find an alternative university option and go on to have a fantastic experience.

If eligible for Clearing, their Clearing number will appear on their UCAS track. They will need to quote this throughout the course of the day so encourage them to write it down.

All Clearing vacancies will be listed centrally on the UCAS website and on the individual university sites. Sit with your son or daughter and look through all of the options available, when you come across one that you feel has potential then the student should call them (there will be a designated Clearing phone number clearly listed) and discuss the course in further detail. Encourage them to ask any questions that they might have about the course, university or student experience as a whole. If the student’s grades match the university’s criteria they will make a verbal offer and students can hold as many of these as they want so do not be afraid to ring lots of institutions.

Once all of the research and phone calls have been made it is time to decide if one is a good match and formally accept it on UCAS track. If not then they should consider a gap year and reapplying the year after; Higher Education is a major investment of time and finances and it has to be right.

The earliest they can accept an offer is 3pm on A Level results day so there is plenty of time to consider all options and no pressure to make an immediate decision. Just be aware that verbal offers do expire (sometimes 24 hours after they are made).

Once a place has been accepted it is time to put into place final arrangements, including securing accommodation and notifying Student Finance that the university destination has changed.

Clearing - A Quick Guide

No need to panic - watch our handy guide to clearing which answers common questions and offers useful advice to those thinking of going through ‎clearing.


Adjustment works in a very similar way to Clearing but is aimed at students that have achieved grades higher than those predicted. If this applies to your son or daughter they may wish to contact universities that were initially perceived as academically too ambitious and find out if they can offer them a place on their chosen course – if they can then they will be able to accept this via UCAS track (in the same way that a Clearing student can).

Although Adjustment is an established UCAS process it is not overly utilised with only a small number of students opting to take it each year. This is not because students don’t exceed grade expectations, but is likely to be because students have become wedded to their initial choice and do not want to swap at this stage. Make sure you talk to your son or daughter about this option carefully, if they do choose to accept an Adjustment offer they cannot revert back to their original university at a later stage.

Please note that if your son or daughter had previously accepted an Unconditional Offer they will not be eligible for Adjustment – regardless of their grades.

Adjustment - A Quick Guide

Advice and guidance for students receiving their exam results and planning on coming to University. Staff and students from Loughborough University explain the Adjustment process.

Next steps

When a student has secured their university place it is time to action the final few tasks, including opening a student bank account, confirming accommodation arrangements and joining social media groups to start making friends!

Universities may send out copies of reading lists, equipment lists and timetables in advance so they can begin to plan their academic commitments.

Additional resources