When students complete their A Levels, they are full of expectations and dreams to fulfil. The decision they will take at that moment will be a very important one in their lives. Some will decide to gain work experience and will start looking for a job, on the other hand, other students will want to go to college to pursue higher education. For the latter, there will be a common concern: UCAS points.
The UCAS tariff was developed to help university admissions departments to quickly compare student’s grades. While it is entirely up to the individual university whether or not they us the UCAS points system, the majority do. Most degree courses will require a student to achieve a specific number of UCAS points. Remember that not all points are equal in the eyes of the best universities.
While all A level courses give the same amount of points for a given grade, universities can choose whether or not to accept points from a specific course, or can choose to exclude points earned from a specific course. Equally, they may choose to put more value on a specific course.
UCAS Points Table
What this can mean for students is that come results day in August, logging into the UCAS page reveals that they haven’t achieved the grades that they needed for entry to their chosen courses. If you don't have enough UCAS points, these don't panic! You still have plenty of options - and here's our run-through of how to get more UCAS points.
Go into Clearing
If entry to university is your absolute top priority this year, then you can choose to go through the UCAS Clearing process. Clearing is how UCAS matches up students who lack offers with courses that lack students. This route means that you can find an alternative course or university, which can work out really well. On the other hand, students should weigh up carefully the merits of a new course and shouldn’t feel pressured to enter a course they don’t really want to do for the sake of it. It might not be helpful to enrol onto a course if your heart isn't in it and there are a number of other options if you need more UCAS points.
Take a Gap Year and Re-Apply
Gap years are very common among students following the end of their A Levels. There are a lot of reasons to take a gap year such as taking the time to travel around other countries, to work, or even to get tutoring services to prepare them for the challenge ahead. It is an excellent way of living different experiences while preparing to face university. Then, after the gap year you can consider your options and either re-apply with your existing grades, or your can look to gain skills or additional qualifications to make your next application more competitive.
Take a Year Off to Gain Practical Experience
Taking a year off in order to gain practical experience is one of the main choices students decide to make, for example, working, volunteering, etc. You can combine this solution with distance learning to get even better results, that way you will get more UCAS points at the same time you are gaining practical experience. Many students also feel that they benefit from the maturity gained over the year.
Get More UCAS Points
Many students find themselves asking: "I don't have enough UCAS points, how can I add more?" There are 2 main options: either by starting afresh or by resitting various exams to enhance your grades. You may find that this is possible at your current college or school.
Resitting specific units is helpful if you feel that your overall grade would have been better but for one or two exams going worse than anticipated. So, if you sat 6 units and received the following grades grades - AAABBD - then resitting the exam where you got the D might be a good option.Alternatively, a complete resit of the course might be beneficial if you have received grades that are poorer than you hoped for across most of your exams. So, if you received grades CCCDFF, then you might want to resit the entire course. With a fast track course, you can do this in just one year.
An alternative option, particularly for students who have found employment is distance learning, commonly known as e-learning. Distance learning carries many other benefits: it allows you to learn whenever you want, wherever you want; it is an innovative and appealing service which means that you will remain motivated and determined to learn.
So if you haven’t got the grades that you need, you don’t need to panic – there are a number of options open to you.
Need to quickly get more UCAS points for university? See if any of our fast track A Levels are right for you.
Image credit - The Calm Before..