A-Level students in Wales who missed out on the grades they needed to enter higher eduation have been told not to panic.
Many woke to an uncertain future on Friday, after failing to get the results required by their chosen university or college.
Some will begin the annual ‘clearing’ rush for remaining places on alternative courses, via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
But the message from admissions tutors to those fretting is: “don’t despair”.
“There is still plenty of time,” said Andrew Parry of the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham.
“This is a very important time of the year, when decisions have to be made which have such considerable implications.
“There are plenty of options open and there is plenty of advice and information.”
NEWI has an information hotline which can be called by students and parents for one-to-one advice on what to do next. The line is open from 9am to 7pm daily on 01244 293045.
Places still available
One in seven people found a place through clearing in 1999, and UCAS has improved its web site to cope with this year’s demand.
Mr. Parry said 95% of students got the university places they wanted after achieving their required grades.
“That still leaves around 250,000 places,” he added.
“Significantly, those places can now be tracked on the internet from the UCAS web site.
“A quick scan through those can reveal the range of places and opportunities which are still available.
“Whatever you do, don’t rush into anything – ask for independent, impartial advice.”
The University of Wales College, Newport, has taken its advice to the heart of the community, with helpers available at a local supermarket 24 hours a day.
UWCN Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer Derrick Stephenson said: “We can offer clearing vacancies and we have academic staff on mobile units outside.
“We have a range of part-time courses from Access courses to PhD.”
Staff at the supermarket saw 100 visitors on results day.