What's the best way for a teen to recover from disappointing A Level results?

(31 Posts)
paulkal Thu 14-Aug-14 07:54:10

One of my nieces will bet getting her A Level results today and she is in quite a panic as she is convinced she has done badly. Quite a few emotional upsets occurred during her revision and this lingered until the time of her exams, so that may be why she thinks she has done badly. Both myself and her mother have tried to reassure her that as long as she has done her best then that's all she could do. That doesn't seem to be enough as she was hoping to get into uni and now thinks that may be jeopardized. Any ideas on how we can be more reassuring towards her?

SugarPlumTree Thu 14-Aug-14 08:02:53

Not been through this with mine too young. I think you and her Mum need to remain outwardly very calm and say let's find out the facts and go from there, whatever happens we can sort something.

I'm lurking on the results thread as taking notes for for my friend next year. Has she applied to go to University this year ? If some of the offers for places are currently showing.

Headlines this morning are that it's a good year to be applying and looks like there may be more places in clearly thn usual. Think the main thing is to keep calm, speak to the school if they aren't what needed and get advice in how to move forward .

Hopefully someone who has been through it will be along soon, if they haven't already whilst I'm typing this.

PurpleWithRed Thu 14-Aug-14 08:09:13

Clearing, gap,year, retakes and a complete change of direction are all options if she hasn't met her grades. She's not the first and won't be the last.

DownByTheRiverside Thu 14-Aug-14 08:10:55

How can you help? By enabling her to understand that it isn't the end of the world and that there are always choices and alternatives.
As Purple said.

Rockinghorse123 Thu 14-Aug-14 08:32:53

10 years ago today I found out I had failed my A levels in a spectacular fashion. At the time it was terrible but once I calmed down school helped me g through clearing and I ended up on a course I was better suited to.

My mum and dad were v disappointed and I still remember that awful feeling to this day. Just be kind, listen to her and be supportive. If she has messed up she will be disappointed in herself all you can do is help her see it doesn't mean the end of the world.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Thu 14-Aug-14 08:46:32

Probably a bit late now, but we had a celebration cake here last night - to celebrate the effort put in, regardless of results today.

Good luck to your niece, as others have said, there are lots of alternatives.

BackforGood Thu 14-Aug-14 09:05:23

Well, within the next hour I guess she'll know.
She might just be a natural born worrier, and have done fine.
She might have not done as well as she hoped, but still get offered a place.
She might not have got a place at her first choice, but might still get her 'insurance' place.
If she's not got that - the staff at school will be there to support and advise.
The main broadsheets have guides of what to do on results day.
She will have had information from UCAS about what to do on results day.
She's not alone.
If she's not got what she hoped for, it will seem like the end of the world to her today, but it really isn't - it's just not meant to be, and there are LOTS of options available, but let her cry and be upset and get it out of her system, as that's perfectly natural.

LoofahVanDross Thu 14-Aug-14 09:09:43

Reassure her that A Level results are really NOT the end of the world. Many many people do extremely well, with or without A Levels. Today it seems to these young people that the results are the be all and end all and that is very sad. A year down the line and she will either be at uni or doing something else she likes. Honestly, I speak as a mum who has been there and got DC working in very well paid careers.

LoofahVanDross Thu 14-Aug-14 09:11:27

Meant to add, the careers are following pretty dire A levels!

BikeRunSki Thu 14-Aug-14 09:37:05

25 years ago shock I found out (unsurprisingly) that I had cocked up (E, E, N). Got a clearing place on a slightly different course. Went to a former poly. Loved it, have built a successful career on it.

Poor A level results is not the end of the world; think of it them as a new opourtunity.

Theas18 Thu 14-Aug-14 09:41:13

It will all work out.

DS girlfriend has " failed spectacularly " today. Grade much lower than expected and rejected from chosen course. Has already got a replacement course that she will love via clearing.

Shodan Thu 14-Aug-14 10:44:15

We've just found out that ds1 hasn't got the grades he needs for either of his first choices.

He still did really well (I think, anyway- BCC) and has been offered a place on a kind-of-related course at his insurance university, but he really doesn't want to do that particular one, so has phoned them to ask for a place on a different course entirely (although still one of his A level subjects).

He is quite philosophical about it- he also had a major emotional crisis (his dad died in April)- and we had already talked about the possibility of a year off to retake (if he wanted), or other career options.

LeftHandedMouse Thu 14-Aug-14 10:58:02

Son's best friend did badly, went to college for an HNC/HND and applied via that route.

Now at probably a better uni than he would have been if he'd got his expected results.

Agggghast Thu 14-Aug-14 11:00:47

Shodan that is an amazing achievement for your DS, a very brave young man.

Shodan Thu 14-Aug-14 11:15:50

Thank you Agggghast smile.

I am very very proud of him- he put in an enormous amount of effort, despite being knocked sideways.

I found with ds1 this morning that what he needed was clear direction- so "Let's go and get those results and see what we're working with, then go from there." Once he had a plan in mind he was able to work through.

I also discussed the benefits of a year out with him- time to save up for uni, more time to learn how to cook grin, greater maturity etc etc. And also emphasised that really, a year is nothing at all, even though it might feel like it to him. (It's only when you get older you fully realise that!)

TheAwfulDaughter Thu 14-Aug-14 14:05:01

Shodan - Once he is at his chosen university, they will let him swap to his desired course in the first few weeks if he says that he is not enjoying the course he is on.

This happened a lot at my university, people getting into less subscribed courses with ABB and swapping onto A*AA ones after Freshers!

BoffinMum Thu 14-Aug-14 15:33:22

I am a university lecturer, and out of nosiness, I was seeing what the 2014 clearing situation was, with a bit of a professional eye. I was interested to see that there are many places left on some terrific courses and some excellent universities.

I spot checked types of History degree course as this is a popular subject, and DS has been muttering about applying to do it, and I found Medieval and Early Modern History at Bangor, Medieval History at Queen Mary, History, Ancient and Medieval at Birmingham, Arts and Humanities with a Foundation Year at Leeds (looks great for a wobbly student with special circumstances) and a number of interesting history-related courses at Scottish universities, who seem to be happy to take on English students as they effectively come with a fee dowry (like non-EU students in England). Aberdeen seems particularly hungry for English students. All of these places would be great experiences and you would leave with a valuable degree.

I think the take away message from this for me was that even dropping two grades in your subjects this year need not be a problem if you have your wits about you.

From personal experience at each place where I have worked, we have let students swap onto courses that require higher offers if it becomes clear early on that they have the capability and enthusiasm to do well on another course. A Levels are only a blunt instrument when it comes to assessing potential and the ability to cope with university work.

I have also turfed students out in the first term when it is clear they can't cope, but this is almost always because they are incessant pot smokers or can't speak English properly. For the others, if they read all the books, attend all the lectures and seminars, and do all the assignments, they leave with a degree. Miss out one of those factors and you start to compromise your results from day one.

Another factor in all this is being comfortable with the level of competition. It's frustrating if all the other people on the course are less academic than you, and less scholarly, and it is also frustrating if they are all far more bookish. It's important to try to find your tribe, even if that means taking a year out while you reapply. University is stressful enough at times, without people having an academic identity crisis. There is really no rush at all. if it was down to me, I would ban anyone under 20 going to university anyway, as it's more fun when you are a bit older, and people tend to do better.

FWIW I got CDD at A Level (stopped working after I got an unconditional offer from music college, although some of the teaching was fairly flaky anyway, looking back), and I went on to have a pretty serious academic career and have worked at top universities. A Levels are only a stepping stone, not the final destination.

ConstantlyCooking Thu 14-Aug-14 16:33:39

Thank you for your message BoffinMum. I am struggling with disappointing results for DS. He was going to take a gap year, but now has to decide what to do. He could go to a lowly ranked uni, but because he wants to study an academic rather than vocational subject DH and I think he needs to re-sit.We are not sure whether DS will want to do that and just don't know what to do next. I know they are not my results but I feel somehow responsible and at a loss. Please don't flame me - I am being as supportive as I can with DS but I needed a space to express my own feelings. sad

Shodan Thu 14-Aug-14 22:23:24

TheAwfulDaughter- thank you. We have read that it is a possibility, but he is not banking on it and actually seems rather excited about his new course now! So fingers crossed.

paulkal Fri 15-Aug-14 07:58:59

Thanks for your reply.

paulkal Fri 15-Aug-14 08:00:13

I will pass on your message. Thanks.

paulkal Fri 15-Aug-14 08:01:19

Thanks for your supportive message. I will pass it on.

paulkal Fri 15-Aug-14 08:02:36

Thanks. I will pass on your message.

paulkal Fri 15-Aug-14 08:04:42

Thanks very much for your supportive message. Comforting to know that someone else has gone through emotional upset. Will pass your message on.

paulkal Fri 15-Aug-14 08:06:31

Good news. Thanks.

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