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How to survive results day, according to parents

Parents who took a ride on the results day rollercoaster with their child told us about the experience...

What did parents do to support their child through this stressful time? How did they respond when their child didn't get the grades they hoped for? And what would they do differently if they went through it all over again?

Here’s what they had to say...

Parents’ tips for results day

Your child can do some homework before results day

We had a list of other university courses ready in case we had to go through Clearing.
Max, Huddersfield | Parent

Make sure you are on the mailing lists for universities/departments that you like. 
Lisa, Market Harborough | Parent

Read everything you need to know about Ucas Clearing in our comprehensive guide to the process.

Face up to all the possible scenarios so you have a plan if they happen

We talked about alternative programmes, such as foundation years as an alternative to re-sits. We also discussed apprenticeships.
Jan, London | Parent

A degree without the fees? Learn more about higher or degree apprenticeships.

Unfortunately, your child can't just send a quick text to snatch a Clearing place

Make sure your child is confident to be able to talk about their subject on the phone, so they don’t panic on the day if they need to find another course. My daughter practised a phone call interview just in case she needed it for Clearing. We had phone chargers, pens, paper, subject tables and personal statement printed out at the ready. 
Gill, St Albans | Parent

If you child enters Clearing, make those important phone calls from home rather than school so it’s less stressful. 
Caroline, Chelmsford | Parent

Is your child worried about calling a university in Clearing? Pick up some pointers from this article, including questions they might be asked.

Knowing how the day will play out will reduce stress

Make sure you know when your school/college is open to collect results and who you can go to for help with Clearing, if necessary. Hopefully, your child won't need any of this – but if you can take away some of the blind panic, hopefully they won't make any rash decisions that they then regret.
Julie, Portsmouth | Parent

Get a good idea of what you and your family can expect with our full guide to A-level results day.

Distract your child in the run-up to results day

We planned a few treats in the run-up to results day, like a trip to London, going to the theatre etc, to try to take her mind off it.
Julie, Portsmouth | Parent

We went on holiday.
Caroline, Chelmsford | Parent

Kept busy. Went out for tea and watched a film.
Julie, Clitheroe | Parent

We went for lots of walks.
Karen, Ikeston | Parent

Good news? Get your hugs, kisses and photos in and then let them do their thing if they wish

Teenagers usually want to hang out with friends regardless of results. We dropped her off outside school and waited in case we were needed. We congratulated her but then let her go off with friends. They tend to celebrate and unwind together. Don't be disappointed if they just want to go off.
Jan, London | Parent

Don't crowd them! Let them find their results on their own and then be there to either celebrate or support as necessary.
Rachel, Liphook | Parent

Narrowly missed their grades? Their first choice may not be off the table just yet

My son had a great interview with the principal of the faculty at his first-choice university. She was so impressed with him that she gave him her mobile number, advising him to call her if he did not get the grades he needed and she would help to get him on the course.
Gill, St Albans | Parent

If a university still has places to fill and a student narrowly misses the grades required (eg they get ABB instead of AAB), a university may still accept them.

This might be less likely for competitive universities or courses (medicine courses or Oxbridge, for instance), but it's worth checking Ucas Hub or with a university directly before assuming Clearing is your next step.

Put on a brave face and stay calm

Hide your own disappointment and be as supportive as possible. 
Caroline, Chelmsford | Parent

Try and stay calm. Put things into perspective. It's not the end of the world if they don't get the results. There are other options – remind your child of this.
Karen, West Sussex | Parent

Stay calm! Whatever their results, it is NOT the end of the world. Take care of their mental health and make sure they know you are there for them.
Lisa, Reading | Parent

Encourage your child!
Lewencia | Parent

Try not to put your stresses and worries on them.
Samantha, London | Parent

Do not panic. There may be laughter or tears but that is life. No big deal. University study is part of life development. If he/she can’t get into their chosen courses this year, then try next year.
David, Hong Kong | Parent


Even if plans change (such as going to their insurance choice) look on the bright side

I wanted to make sure that he had lots of positive things to focus on (after initial disappointment). I wanted to keep the positivity and excitement high about his next steps!
Jo, Manchester | Parent

Not sure where to begin the Clearing search?

My daughter revisited some of the ones she had been looking at when she made her Ucas application.
Julie, Portsmouth | Parent

Does your child need to find a uni in Clearing? See how they can structure their search.

Keep the weekend after results day free

Go to the uni open days as soon as you can after results day.
Jo, Manchester | Parent

Heading to an open day? Check out our full open day advice area, including questions to ask and mistakes to avoid.

What now?

Explore our full advice hub for results day and Clearing with your child, so you’re ready for all scenarios.

We also asked students who have gone through results day for their tips.

If your child is looking for a new course in Clearing, use our course search tool to help them narrow down their options.

You could also visit the applications, Clearing and Ucas forum on our sister site The Student Room to see how other students are handling the process. 

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