Changing Direction After Your A Level Results – What Are Your Options?

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So the dreaded day has been and gone. And it’s official: there is life after A Level results. Many students will have got the results they were after – so congratulations and well done to them.

But what about you? How did you do? Did you have to take the walk of shame past all your mates who were celebrating? How did your parents take the news?

The E.N.D of Grades

Did your A Level results spell out the E.N.D of life as you know it? Don't panic, this is not the end of the road for you. You might think it's all over, but it isn't. There are alternative paths to follow, other options to take.

What if you’ve had a change of heart and want to follow a new road and change direction after your A Level results? Let's take a walk through the options available to you. Stop, take stock and consider where your strengths lie and what's right for you.


Want to take your first steps into the world of work? Have a browse on the internet and contact companies where you could perhaps intern for a year – a taste of your career before you settle down to the serious subject of more studies. Why not look at internships abroad, too? Incorporating travel with experience and perhaps a little sunshine for good measure. Perfect after the gloom of some disappointing A Level results.


If A Levels put you off the traditional route and you’ve had more than enough of studying for the time being, thanks very much, but still feel you want to earn some qualifications then perhaps look into apprenticeships. These allow you to start earning while learning a trade. Apprenticeships are highly sought after placements in companies that can afford to pay you while you learn on the job and have days out to go to college. It’s very much hands-on and the training is specific to a job or industry.

Time Out

Is your head too muddled by the whole experience? Then take time out and consider the attractive possibilities of a gap year. Before your parents panic, explain it's not all about lazing around, travelling in a tropical country and living rough. You could take a voluntary working position for a year, or even study abroad. Perhaps you'll come back in 12 months with a new language skill, taught English as a foreign language or having worked within an organised and productive team? One thing’s for sure – you’ll certainly be richer in life skills.

If after considering the above you’ve decided that university is the best thing to do after all, you might be considering upgrading university or due to disappointing grades have to consider a different course or university. In this case, your first course of action is to call Clearing. Pen and paper ready and have all your details at hand, and remember to have your phone fully charged. Ring all the universities you like the look of, and see whether they will accept you through the Clearing system. It has been known for unsuccessful students to still gain their original chosen place through the Clearing system. Be clear and concise, and treat every call like an interview, make a great impression. Remember: universities want students as well as students wanting university places.

Changing to a completely different course

Perhaps your A Levels were science-based and instead of following a Batchelor of Sciences path you want to go to art college? Or vice versa? In this instance be sure that you’re changing direction for the right reasons and not because of other anxieties. First of all speak to your course tutor at college (or where you’d like to go to college or university). Explain the grades you have and what subjects you have them in and ask them what you need to do to get on the course you want. It could be that you need to do an extra AS Level in a year or a fast track A Level.

Alternatively, it could also mean you need to do another two years of different A Levels or complete a BTEC in a specific course to give you the knowledge you need to further your education. However, there are options, so get your facts straight, have an eye on the prize and go for it.


It may seem like the dullest option after your A Levels haven't quite gone to plan, but you can always resit - and yes, really try and do better. If you know that deep down you could have spent more time revising and less time out with your mates, and it's possible to do better, then go for it. What's a little more time when you really want that university place you have your heart set on? The dream is never over until you decide to give up on it.

Wondering what to do after your A Levels and in need of a quick change of direction? Check out Oxford College’s range of Fast Track courses.