Results week 2021 – what students said

Students receiving results

After 18 months of change and uncertainty for A Level, BTEC, SQA and GCSE students, last week saw their journey finally arrive at Results Day. (Catch up on our Results Week insights)

The Student Room is still buzzing with talk about options and Clearing plus we’re seeing some edge cases with universities rejecting students or holding onto them almost a week later. We’ll update you as the weeks progress but for now, let’s look at some stand-outs from last week…

Feeling was positive from A-Level students

After all the disruption young people have experienced, their top grades were a celebration of the resilience they have shown throughout their studies.

Our poll to students asked how they were feeling about their results and there was a very even split between those who exceeded their expectations (34%), those who got what they expected (35%), and those who had grades that were lower than they expected (31%). Those who were left disappointed are perhaps, in some cases, a result of the hyped-up debate of grade inflation which has ultimately taken an emotional toll.

“I was pretty happy till I saw on the news that loads of people were getting A*’s and then I somehow felt a little disappointed”

“hello deferrals, hello reapplicants. just let me cry because my chances of a med application this year are looking very much slimmer by the day. If we put subject requirements aside, half of the country’s y13s are now qualified to apply to almost all medical schools. Not that it is the fault of any applicants at all, everyone is just trying to do their best.”

Support has never been as important

Even with all the help from schools, colleges and teachers, students have felt isolated over the past two years. They haven’t been able to attend open days to get a feel for where they may spend the next 3-4 years of their studies and peer-to-peer conversation has been vital in this absence.

The Student Room is ‘the’ go-to site for advice and reassurance in an uncertain time for young people. Some of the quotes and threads below highlight that support during this stressful time is invaluable to them, especially from volunteers and your Official Reps.

Student A had a really challenging personal circumstance and was able to reach a positive outcome with the help of TSR last week:

“I achieved AAB in 2018 in biology, chemistry, and maths. I couldn’t go to university due to family issues. My parents had a baby when I was in year 13, and she was born with severe medical issues. I had to stay home and look after her when my parents were at work, and get a job so they could be with her some of the time.

She’s a lot better now so I applied for university this year. Due to two years worth of students applying with inflated grades, I was denied a place at all five of my universities. There are C grade students getting straight As and A*s whilst I’ve always been an A grade student and worked hard for my grades, but less intelligent people get the university spaces. But now I’ve lost my entire future and I don’t know what to do. This has left me feeling very down and depressed and nothing in clearing looks appealing and I can’t go through adjustment.”

After receiving some great advice on the thread, fast forward to…

“Hi everyone. I have been talking to Southampton and looked at a couple of other options, and I think I’m going to do their BSc marine biology. My family are okay with me going there as it’s not like the other side of the country, and it looks really nice. Thank you for all of your kind words”

We also saw some brilliant advice and cheering on from Official Reps as they made decisions on place of study.


Clearing places up for grabs

Last week it was noted that the number of applicants had increased by 21,490 YoY. By 11th August, 8,700 applicants had already been placed through Clearing and there are 19,710 more applicants free to be placed in Clearing than in 2020.

Top Ten unplaced (in Clearing applicants) by subject:

1. Subjects allied to Medicine
2. Medicine
3. Creative arts & Design
4. Business & Admin
5. Social studies (including Economics and Politics)
6. Biological Sciences (includes Psychology)
7. Education
8. Engineering
9. Computer Science
10. Law

Health-related fields have seen a very high proportion of unplaced applicants – this could be down to university places and/or placement shortages, combined with higher applicant numbers.

So what next?

Year 12s as well as Year 11s are already talking about what this years’ results and number of applicants will mean for them. Engaging with future applicants as early as possible and offering those on-campus experiences to get a feel for your university in the coming months is key. Find out more about our research on 2022 applicants here.

But for now, lets celebrate the achievements of the Class of ’21 and hope the disruptions of COVID can be put behind them as they embark on their new adventure!



What to do next:

For support with 2022 applicant recruitment, please get in touch with our team:
0800 999 3222