UCAS chief explains what A-Level students should do regarding university places

18 August 2020, 14:08

By Fiona Jones

After the government's U-turn on A-Level results, many students now have the grades to get into their first choice university - what are their next steps? The UCAS chief explains to LBC.

With students left devastated after 40% of results were downgraded by a computer algorithm, No10 changed its policy to allow teacher assessments to dictate student grades.

As many results are changing, what should potential university students do?

UCAS chief Clare Marchant emphasised that if a student have been accepted to their first choice, no matter any movement on their grades, they should stick with that place and enjoy university.

For those students that did not get their first choice, but now have the correct grades based on teachers' assessments (central assessed grades), the UCAS chief urges them to phone their first choice and see if they can attain a place.

She emphasised that everything is still in flux regarding university places as "admission professionals are having to real-time review the admissions and go through that during the course of this week."

The key thing for prospective students is to "keep the conversation going" with the universities they wish to attend.

The UCAS chief's message to all students is to keep the conversation going with universities
The UCAS chief's message to all students is to keep the conversation going with universities. Picture: PA

Ms Marchant pointed out that universities currently have many constraints and elements to consider due to Covid-19 such as physical space for lectures, labs and placements. As each university is physically different, some may be able to accommodate more than others.

"Most universities will be honest and transparent with you about the fact they're working through as they receive the centre assessed grades and have a conversation with you," Ms Marchant said.

The caps on university student places have also been removed - however Ms Marchant emphasised that there will still be many practical considerations for universities before admitting every successful applicant.

Each institution will also have a different level of maturity regarding digital or remote learning so the offerings and experience will be affected by this.

Ms Marchant emphasised that UCAS is there to support every student and has extended opening hours, urging anyone with any questions to seek help.