A Level results day: High emotions and huge results by Lucy Ball
A Level results day is a hugely important day for The Access Project. It’s when our students, who have been working incredibly hard on their subjects for the last two years, find out exactly how they have done and therefore which university they will be attending.
It’s a highly emotionally-charged experience at all of our schools, with students wrestling with decisions about university acceptances in the knowledge these choices will dictate where they will be living and studying for the next three years.
We started the day with (almost!) as much trepidation as our students - our fingers crossed that they had got the grades they needed to convert their offers for study at highly selective universities into confirmed places.
Our staff who have been working with students and teachers all year, arrived at the crack of dawn to nine of our London schools in readiness for students’ arrival – some of whom already knew whether they’d got into their first choice university from the UCAS website, while others were on tenterhooks still waiting to be told their grades.
And wow, did we see some great results!
The first person I met during the day was Toyo, as he was walking out the door of the Oasis Academy Enfield, having found out that he had achieved an astonishing A*A*A*A*! (Toyo had an amazing 50 Maths tutorials with his tutor, and is now off to study Maths at Imperial College London.)
So far, at least 30 of the year 13 students we have tutored this year will be studying at Russell Group universities, including two heading for Oxford, which is a fantastic achievement!
Matilda at Hornsey School for Girls, who we supported with application advice, admissions test and interview preparation, as well as tutorials in A Level Maths, got A*AB and is going to Oxford to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
It was fantastic to see how all of Matilda’s hard work and dedication had paid off, and to hear her say: “So excited to be going to Oxford and so grateful to The Access Project for helping me get there! Couldn’t have done it without you!”
Nervous students with outstanding grades
Salimah from Clapton Girls’ Academy was so nervous about her results that she hid under a table to open them! Her fears were clearly unfounded though, as she got an incredible A*AA and is now also going to Oxford, to study French and Arabic.
Salimah said of her work with The Access Project: “Sometimes I was all over the place, disorganised. Being part of the project really gave me a sense of direction”, along with practical help with “things that I don’t know how to do, like writing a personal statement, or preparing for an interview; it’s all been great”.
We also have some medics in the making, with Mert and Abdi from Highbury Grove off to study Medicine at Southampton, while Nava from Oasis Academy Hadley is going to read Dentistry at King’s College London.
As well as seeing successes in entries to excellent UK universities, we are also very proud of one of our students gaining a place at a highly prestigious US institution - Caitlin from Highbury Grove School has an extraordinary adventure ahead of her, as she will soon be leaving for the University of Chicago!
There were so many success stories which we were tweeting throughout the day that it’s difficult to try and sum up them up in one blog post. Suffice to say that we are incredibly proud of all of our students!
Putting things in perspective
Of course it wasn’t all smooth sailing. There were students who did much better than they had expected, who therefore went into Adjustment to see if they could secure a place at an even better university, and those who hadn’t done as well as they’d hoped, who went into Clearing seeking a place at a university with a different entry grade to the one they had applied to.
There were those who decided to repeat the year and reapply to different courses, and those who decided they had completely changed their mind about which city they wanted to study in. All of our schools had excellent teams of teachers on hand to give advice about Clearing and Adjustment, which our fantastic team of Programme Coordinators assisted with.
Whilst we celebrate the great successes of our students, it’s important to reflect, as Tom Sherrington wrote in his blog on the subject, that good A Level results are not the only key to a successful future. So for those of you who are feeling despondent after missing out on the grades you needed and are now heading for a university through clearing which wasn’t your first (or indeed second) choice, don’t despair!
Pat yourself on the back for getting through your A Levels and securing a place at university, and start getting excited about the journey you’re about to embark upon. I speak from experience – after missing my predicted grades by a long way in my own A Levels I ended up with a place at the University of Portsmouth, where I had a fantastic time and bagged myself a 1st.
From there I managed to fulfil my dream of study at a Russell Group university by heading to Warwick for my Master’s, after which I completed my PhD!