A long and potentially stressful academic year is over and finally come down to this moment, opening a brown envelope.

The piece of paper contained within will impact your next steps in life and may well shape what you decide to do next. It's a big moment in your life, so being nervous is normal.

I remember that feeling when I was given my brown envelope. I couldn't think properly and hoped everything would be okay. Of course, your parents want to hear you say, "I did it." In reality, this doesn't happen for everyone. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who will open up their GCSE's, AS Levels or A Levels, to discover it's not as good a result as they had hoped for. If this is the case for you, it's time to start considering your options.

Take a deep breath.

First thing to do is try not to panic! Getting caught up in the heat of the moment is very easy but, no matter what your grades are; be proud. You may have expected much more but remember how much effort you've put in. Your parents will always be proud of what you've achieved. They will give you the support and courage to start thinking about your next steps, even if they are now slightly different to what you had originally planned.

Change your path

If you didn't meet the minimum requirements to get onto your chosen course or the university that you had your heart set on or maybe you have just changed your mind about the path you want to take, begin looking into other options. If you were looking at going to college, when you go for your enrolment day they will help discuss your potential options. They will be able to advise you on what you could do, you may find that your results haven't impacted on getting into your course at all. 

If you didn't get Math's or English, then you will have to retake them or you could look at doing a traineeship. Which is work experience where you also get functional skills training in Maths and English.

Your Options

I would suggest you get as much advice from parents, teachers, tutors, career's advisors and friends. They will help you weigh up your options, so you can consider everything. Do your research and understand what is out there.

But what about Uni?

If you are looking at going to university then I would suggest speaking to your chosen university. They will be able to advise you; on what they think is best for you. Then look at your UCAS application and see if you can go through clearing.

Re-sitting Exams

The other option would be considering re-siting the year. Yes, you may think that you are going to be wasting a year… But if you had your heart set on going to a specific university that has a specific course and requirements then this could be your best option.


An option you may consider is applying for an apprenticeship. An Apprenticeship is a great way to get both job experience and a qualification. Do not think an apprenticeship is a path for people who want to do a more practical job such as hairdressing or mechanics? Well this is no longer the case, the programmes offered has grown massively over the last few years offering you lots of choice from a range of professional qualifications including, law, finance and business.

You can now also get a degree by doing a degree apprenticeship, where you would attend university and work full time.

Apprenticeship Advice & Tips