There are lots of things we’ve come to expect from A Level results day. Social media losing all perspective on life, referencing the end of the world and quoting Game of Thrones – ‘Brace yourselves, exam results are coming’; students huddling in the school foyer, finding a quiet place to be by themselves, or covering their eyes as they ask their parents to open the envelope; and the inevitable cringe worthy moment when TV and radio presenters insist students open their results live on the air. For most of us, these traditions are part of the past or something to be anticipated in the future, but for 2016’s group of A-Level students, their results are the here and now. It can feel like it is the only thing in the world that matters, like your whole life has come down to three or four letters on a page, but no matter what happens, there are countless opportunities waiting on the other side.There are a few things that can be done to try and make the situation as stress-free as possible. Try and be normal: waking up at six am and sitting, shaking at the side of your bed isn’t doing anyone any good. Be prepared: know what grades you’re looking for and be aware of the connotations of getting higher or lower than what you expected. Be patient: information could be available on UCAS Tracker as early as 8am, but the system could just as easily be busy or slow, so you may have to wait. Likewise, if you’re waiting to hear directly from a university, it could take a few days. This is useful advice for what can be a stressful morning, but it does not mean that you should treat this day as one which will define the rest of your life. By the time most of us open our A-Level results, we have an idea of what we want to do in the coming months and years, and the results themselves can seem like a yes or no answer to whether or not we are allowed to do it. But this isn’t the case. If you’re A-Level results aren’t quite enough for your first choice plan, there are still several options for you to pursue, and they are no less worthy for having not been part of your original thinking. Ask anyone, they’re likely to tell you that some of the biggest and best things ever to happen to them weren’t succinctly planned out, they just happened. When it comes to making the most of these options there are a few key things to remember. Be positive: even if your results didn’t meet the requirements of your first choice, it doesn't mean they aren’t valuable, they are likely to open up many other opportunities. Be prepared to work hard: you’ve earned those grades, whatever they are, and now it’s time to leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding out how you can use them. Be open-minded: even if University was plan A, there are plenty of newly emerging alternatives which include all the same advantages, and even carry extra advantages to go with them. Foundation degrees can keep you on the educational path that will one day take you to university; higher level apprenticeships will allow you to make money while you gain qualifications; and part time courses mean you can increase your skill set and broaden your horizons while you look at your options for next year. There are lots of things to expect with A-Level results day, but a dead end is never one of them. Your results are important, and it is a significant time in anyone’s educational journey, but there is more than one way forward, and it is what you do with the results that will ultimately decide how important they are. South West College is on hand to help you explore all the options. Don't forget our A-Level Results Information day, on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th August from 10.00am – 4.00pm.