What to Do if You Didn’t Get into University

pinball machine shoot again

So, you feel as though the bottom has dropped out of your world. The worst possible outcome has actually happened, and you didn't get the A Levels needed to go to the university of your choice. But no matter what you think right now there's always a solution, an alternative. All is definitely not lost.

Let’s look at a few things to do if you didn't get into university...

Go through Clearing

Your first stop when you need to get back in gear and can think clearly. Apply to clearing as soon as you can and see where the available courses open to you are – you might end up better off than you could have been, had you been accepted into your first choice.

Be aware that it can all happen very quickly. It's very easy. Register at Ucas.co.uk, fill in the form online and obtain your personal clearing reference number. Then when you ring around the universities you quote that and your UCAS points. Often they will make you an offer there and then.


It can seem like a slightly depressing thought, but often the only option is to re-sit – especially if your application was to the university and course that you had set your heart on. The re-sit examination period is usually set by the university's examinations office, normally in August.

Retake Your A Levels

Better grades at A Level will improve your chances at the most basic level, and possibly affect everything in the future. So if you think that you really could have done better, then do just that.

Consider another Path

Think broader. Look at alternative universities to the ones you had decided on. In fact, look at other courses. Perhaps that path was not for you. Are there other options worth considering? You might be surprised by taking off the blinkers, that there are so many other options. Another course with different people might just be better suited to you too.

Take Time Out

A gap year might be a more timely option for you at the moment. It'll help you focus, regain control of yourself, and help you be better equipped on your return. Gap years are about so much more than just the travel (though that's good too): students who choose to take a gap year are often the more grounded, mature learners, who wind up back at university with more money, and more experience. Besides, whether you’ve done some volunteering, a stint teaching English as a foreign language or just some constructive, well planned backpacking, it'll look great on your CV when it comes to finding a job later on.

Ask if University Was Right for You in the First Place?

Yes, it was all part of the grand plan, and all you have been thinking about for a long time. But what if university is not actually for YOU? If you're determined to succeed anyway, then you probably will – with or without a university education.

So whichever way you come at it, there’s absolutely no rush. If you’re quite sure of the right path to take, get a job to help keep yourself afloat – your learning can then grow from there. Whatever you decide, just ensure that the option you choose is best for you.

Didn’t get into the university of your choice and looking to have another crack at it? Check out our range of one-year Fast Track A Level courses.