Taking a Different Path

Lydia Tunstall

Thursday 24th August 2017. My A-Level results day. Unfortunately, it was not the success story I had hoped for. I hadn’t managed to get the grades I needed for my first-choice university and I had a complete change of heart, deciding against both my insurance offer and against studying law (the original course I had applied for). And so I went through clearing. I spent results day researching universities and chatting to tutors over the phone until I was happy with my choice. I spent the next few years at York: studying, going to parties, volunteering, sports, and spending too long in Gatehouse Coffee (my favourite coffee shop in York!). Looking back, I’m happy I made that decision, and would never change it.

With A-Levels results day around the corner, I thought I’d reflect on my own experience and share some tips:


1. Research! No one wants to think about the possibility of clearing but it’s important to do a little bit of research before results day. If you’re feeling unsure about your grades or have changed your mind about what you want to do, take a look at other options and see what’s available.

2. Take your time. You don’t need to rush it or make snap decisions. These are big choices to make, so really think it through and talk to the people around you. Just remember that there are always other paths to take.

3. Ask questions! Look at the course, chat to tutors, think about the location and accommodation and ask about other opportunities like study abroad, work placements and scholarships.


‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson


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