Don't delay – apply for a place today

The balmy temperatures of the past month or so have left us in no doubt that the summer holidays are almost upon us.

But as we bask in the glorious seasonal sunshine, thousands of young people are preparing for what they hope will be another cause for celebration.

Very soon, this year’s crop of A level students will gather nervously at their schools – supported by families and teachers of course – and pick up their results.

For most, it will be the culmination of 13 years’ hard work and they will hopefully get the grades they need to progress to the next step of their education or embark on their chosen career.

The simple advice right now would be not to panic. But it is also essential that having worked so hard in the run-up to the exams, they don’t leave it too late to start taking the steps that will determine their future.

Whatever letters are contained inside that results envelope – and whether they meet, fall short of or indeed exceed expectations – there are a myriad of options and opportunities available.

Students may have to alter carefully laid plans, but there is nothing to say that the new avenue they choose to travel down won’t be every bit as rewarding.

With hundreds of further and higher education establishments across the UK, delivering all manner of academic and vocational courses, the choices and possibilities open to 18-year-olds – and, for that matter, more mature students – are endless.

For many, the very breadth of choice and the different courses available can perhaps seem daunting, and this, there are probably more options available than ever.

At the University of Plymouth, most students opt for the regular undergraduate courses and there are dozens if not hundreds of subjects to choose from.

But if that’s not the most appropriate option right now, or they need a few more UCAS points to progress on their first choice programme, they can look at doing a foundation course.

Foundation courses can be the perfect option for students who perhaps excel in their studies but not exam, and they give a real flavour of how learning at university can differ from learning at school.

They can also be great for mature or returning students, looking to get back into learning after a lengthy break or opting for a change of direction.

We have several available, particularly in the sciences, to provide people with a stepping stone to a degree that will meet the increasing demand for more scientists and engineers to join the regional and national workforce.

We also have degree apprenticeships in a range of subjects, part of a government initiative designed to enable people to earn while they learn.

But whatever option is being considered, we have dedicated advisers who can begin guiding prospective students through the process today.

Our preparations for confirmation and Clearing have been in full swing for several months and everything we have done so far has been geared to making results day as stress-free as possible for prospective students and their families.

The pre-Clearing service we offer helps hundreds of people each year, explaining how to get the best out of the entire process, and one of the key things it does to make sure students have the best information to hand so they know what options are on the table.

People can speak to academics on any courses, and find out more about the experiences they will be able to enjoy if they choose to come here.

Then on results day, we have advisers who can call students rather than leaving them to queue to get through to our dedicated call centre.

On Thursday 16 August, our hotline opens at 7am and between then and the following Friday, we will have advised around thousands of people through an extensive call centre staffed with trained advisers.

That hotline will be supplemented by an interactive digital hub, recognising that a huge number of our prospective students will be looking to engage with us through social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.

It will provide the latest information on course closures, vacancies and contact points and warn of any problems in the UCAS environment.

Academics and tutors are able to answer specific questions about the caller’s chosen subject and make sure they are able to make the right decisions about which course to choose.

In addition we run a specific schools and college hotline, which deals directly with teachers who can pass the latest information to their own students.

Confirmation and Clearing Information Days will also take place, to provide an opportunity for prospective students to get a feel for the campus.

It may seem a long time until the middle of August and very tempting to switch off after the exams and put off making decisions about your future. But, as with most things these days, results day will undoubtedly come around quicker than you think so why not take the first step on the next part of that education journey now.

Is it too late to secure a place for September 2018?

If you haven't made a UCAS application before the final deadline, or fear your grades will fall short of the entry requirements for your chosen course, then you may be able to achieve a place on one of our courses with vacancies through Clearing.

Call our Clearing hotline on 0333 241 6929 from 7am on results day to discuss your options and secure your place on one of our courses with vacancies this September.