Every year, thousands of students call the UK’s own dedicated Exam Results Helpline and the 40-strong team of careers advisors who man the service are expecting this year to be as busy as ever.
The experts provide free, specialised information, help and guidance – usually to students who have higher or lower exam results than expected.
It is then open for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 17th August, the day A-Level results are issued, and closes on August 31 following GCSE results on 24th August.
Last year more than 7500 students called to speak with an advisor on the Helpline’s 0808 100 8000 number as well as through dedicated Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Students make the bulk of the calls, but a quarter are parents reviewing options on behalf of their children.
The three top reasons for calling:
1. 'What are my options for clearing?' (26%)
2. 'My results are lower than I expected - what now?' (20%)
3. 'I don’t know what to do and need careers advice' (12%)
A full timetable of opening hours can be found here
One of them was Molly Claridge, from Colchester in Essex, who had just received grades that resulted in her thinking she would not be able to achieve her first choice degree of Media and Communications at Bath Spa.
Molly, who is now 19 and just finished her first year at Bath Spa, said: “When I looked online and saw my grades I really freaked out as I had got lower than I thought. It was so nerve wracking anyway with all the build up to it and so the day itself was pretty traumatic.
“The thing that was confusing was that it said I was still going to get into Bath Spa but I couldn’t really believe that without checking it out properly.
“I called the helpline number and spoke to someone who was so helpful and immediately told me what to do. Their advice is common sense, things like calling the university itself, speaking with tutors, looking at all the other options available – things you really need to hear if you’re worried and don’t know what to do.”
The Helpline is supported by the Department for Education and run by UCAS from its headquarters in Cheltenham.
The advice covers what to do if students haven’t secured the grades they predicted, or if they’ve changed their minds about their chosen course. There is also guidance on next steps for students whose grades are better than expected, help with Clearing and information on apprenticeships and vocational courses.
School Standards Minister for England, Nick Gibb said: “Following the culmination of years of hard work, the day students open their results is an exciting yet nerve-wracking time.
“The government has reformed GCSEs and A levels so young people leave school with gold-standard qualifications, which ensures students are taught the knowledge and skills to succeed in the next stage of their education or career.
“The experts at the Exam Results Helpline provide a vital source of information to students and their parents as they carefully consider their options for the future.”
Annie Dobson, one of the career advisors who will be supporting the helpline this year, said: “This is an exciting but sometimes worrying time for students and their families. There is so much expectation on the morning of the results days for A-Levels and GCSEs that having a friendly, expert, safe pair of hands to turn to is beneficial – for students and parents alike.
“Through the years, advisors have helped tens of thousands understand the best way forward no matter what they are facing. The team for 2017 has already been assembled and are looking forward to supporting this year’s young people as they move into the next stage of their lives.”
Further information including opening hours can be found here.