It’s results day, but where to go from here?

It’s the day of recognition, and maybe your results are not quite what you hoped for – or maybe they are better than expected.

So, what to do next?

Many teenagers will have their plans already fixed, with university and college places secured, or jobs lined up.

But for others, be your grades good or bad, there are still decisions to be made.

If you are disappointed, results day is likely to bring concern and worry.

At this stage, the widely accepted advice is to stay calm, not panic, and think through your options – of which there are many.

Are your grades below what you needed to confirm your university or college place?

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, says students should speak to their teachers if they are concerned about their results, and stay in touch to ensure they get advice and support.

“Where it’s problematic is where youngsters shoot off,” he says. “They come in, they’re disappointed with their results and they disappear.

“The advice always is that they ensure they are in communication with someone in their school or college so that we know exactly what is happening.”

Staff will be on hand to give appropriate advice to students, Mr Trobe says, adding “some of it is simply to ring the university if they have gone under the grades required”.

“It will be to ring the university and to follow up just to find out if they have got in or not. Because often youngsters can get it in if they miss by two or three grades.”

“It depends on the attitude of the university,” he adds.

Students who do not get into their first, or insurance choice of degree can use the Ucas Clearing system to search for available courses.

There have been suggestions that Clearing will be a buyers’ market for students this year, with almost all universities expected to advertise places.

It is likely that there will be courses available in subjects ranging from languages and the humanities to the sciences and engineering, each asking for different grade requirements.

Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, says: “If your grades end up being different from what you expected, it’s important not to jump into making a decision.

“Make the right choice for you. It can help to talk your thoughts through with family, friends, a teacher, or careers adviser.

“If you decide to look for courses in Clearing, there are fewer 18-year-olds in the UK’s population, so there’s never been a better time to search for opportunities.”

While some will experience disappointment come results day, others may find they have surpassed their own expectations.

Many will go ahead with the plans they have already made, but there are other options open if you find yourself thinking about the opportunities available to you.

The Ucas adjustment service is for students who meet and exceed the grade requirements for their original degree choice and are considering swapping to another course.

It allows students to look at other options without losing their original university offer – you’ll need to talk to the university you’re interested in about any possible vacancies on the course you want.

University is not for everyone, and there are plenty of alternatives for those who don’t see themselves studying for a degree.

Many firms have their own apprenticeship programmes, or you could look at a degree apprenticeship – a new education route that combines working with university study.

There are also many technical and vocational qualifications that you could consider.

Kirstie Donnelly, managing director of City & Guilds and ILM, says: “Now more than ever, young people have access to an array of different routes into education and employment.”

While academic qualifications are the right route for many, they should not be seen as the only way to get a job or have a successful career, she says.

“Our recent research has highlighted that the UK faces a significant shortfall of skilled and talented people, with ongoing uncertainty around Brexit set to exacerbate this.

“It’s essential that young people understand the full range of options ahead of them, which can pave a way into industries including engineering, construction, hospitality, media or the built environment sector.”

Whether your results are good or bad, you may also be considering a gap year – a chance to gain new skills, experience the workplace, or travel.

And don’t forget – there are likely to be lots of famous faces out there again this results day ready to remind you that your future does not hang on the outcome of one set of exam results.

Last year, presenter Jeremy Clarkson reminded students of his own academic career, tweeting: “If you didn’t get the right A-level results, don’t worry. I got a C and 2 Us, and my chef is preparing truffles for breakfast.”

And Richard Branson tweeted “I’d probably fail school exams if I took them today” adding a link to his advice “for dyslexics dreading exam results”.

University, 6th FormWeb editor