It's results day but don't panic

At first glance, Dad’s Army and A-level results day might not be the most obvious bedfellows.

But arguably the most iconic quote from the beloved BBC sitcom doubles up as the best possible advice to any student picking up their A-level results tomorrow – DON’T PANIC.

It might seem an easy – and possibly even misguided – thing to say to someone who has spent 13 years in education building towards this moment.

After all, for many of those sitting exams this summer, getting the grades they’ve been predicted will make the difference between attending the university of their choice and looking for alternatives.

But, in reality, therein lays the key message.

Because the fact remains that whatever letters are contained inside that results envelope – and whether they meet, fall short of or indeed exceed your expectations – there will be a myriad of options available to you.

And although you may have to alter your carefully laid plans, there is nothing to say that the new avenue you choose to travel down won’t be every bit as rewarding as your original first choice.

On Thursday morning across the country, there will be around 300,000 students gathering with friends and family and eagerly opening envelopes handed out by their school or college.

And after a round of congratulatory or sympathetic hugs, they will contact their universities of choice to confirm where they will be heading for the next stage of their education.

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 can perhaps seem daunting.

But the reality is that all universities will have advisers on hand to match applicants with the course most suited to their skills, ambitions and enthusiasm.

Plymouth University – the largest in the West Country and one of the largest in the UK with more than 27,000 students and with campuses and partner colleges across the region – is no exception.

And ahead of the annual influx of calls and queries which follows the distribution of A-level results, our preparations for Confirmation and Clearing have been in full swing for several weeks.

Everything we have done so far has been geared to making A-level results day as stress-free as possible for prospective students.

This year we have gone even further than before, and for the last fortnight, we have been encouraging prospective students to register their details with us, so that when the results go live tomorrow morning we will call them rather than the other way around.

From the time our hotline opens at 7am tomorrow – telephone 01752 585858 – to the moment it closes at some point next Friday afternoon, we will have advised around 4,000 people through an extensive call centre staffed with trained advisers.

They all want to do the same thing – to make the Confirmation and Clearing process as easy to navigate as possible for those trying to set sail on the next phase of the educational journey.

The 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.

Prospective students also receive help and advice from our academics and tutors, who are able to answer specific questions about the caller’s chosen subject and who 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 will deal directly with teachers who can pass the latest information to their own students and special Confirmation and Clearing Information Days will also take place, providing an opportunity for prospective students to get a feel for the campus.

In essence, Confirmation and Clearing can be a period of great opportunity for those receiving their A-level results, and a time when some of the best decisions are made. The key is to access that help and information.

So, there may not be the hysteria of Corporal Jones or Captain Mainwaring, but the advice from Dad’s Army rings true – whatever your reason for going through Clearing, don’t panic, we are here to help.

Jenita Loheswaran, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science student at the University, said:

I owe a load of respect and gratitude to the people I spoke to on results day last year. They got me through a really stressful time and were incredibly helpful. I would love to be able to be that person for someone else

Clearing hotline