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Missed Out On University? Have You Considered Your Options?

20 Aug 2020

A level results day has unfortunately not gone the way many had hoped and needed it to go. Many students have now missed out on places at university which they deserved, and their teachers had predicted. Even with the recent government U-turn, many have still missed out on places on courses with their revised grades as they are now full.

Speaking from personal experience, it can be a gut-wrenching experience opening that brown envelope and not seeing the grades you were desperately hoping for. It may feel like a huge roadblock but be assured that you can turn things around.

Here are your options if you have missed out on university.

Gap Year

Gap years have traditionally been viewed as simply travelling abroad for a year, but in truth, they are whatever you make them to be. A gap year can still be done over here in the UK, with different routes you can take. If you find yourself unable to go to your desired university this year and are set on going next year, a gap year may be a good place to start.

You may wish to use a gap year for different purposes, such as to earn money to help you at university, to gain experience, or to give yourself a well-deserved break from education; enjoying yourself and maturing.

Adventurous Route

PGL offer adventure breaks for children and teens and have locations all across the UK. Every summer, they offer the chance to become a group leader or instructor at one of their camps. This is a perfect opportunity for students to earn money, enjoy themselves and gain leadership experience, which will be valuable on any CV.

Check out what opportunities they have here

Stocking Up Your Piggy Bank

You will more than likely be looking for something to do between now and either starting university or a spring/summer job. Finding a temporary job or part time job is a great way to earn and save plenty of cash for when you head to university. Temporary jobs aren’t always part time either, some can offer full time hours and plenty of opportunities for overtime.

Not only will this help you in your first year as money won’t be as tight but working throughout the year may open the door to a job with responsibilities. Whilst in your job, you may be given the chance to step up into a supervisor role or take on extra responsibilities; which doesn’t often occur in typical part time student employment. This is not only a great way to learn new skills but increases the chances of making your CV stand out in the future.

It may sound silly now but taking a gap year can really mature you, especially if you spend the majority of it working, which is absolutely something I noticed after taking my own gap year. As you head into university, you tackle your studies and living independently away from home more sensibly, especially if you have been able to earn and manage your own money for a year beforehand.

If you are looking at a good way to bolster both your CV and piggy bank, Wesser offer fantastic fundraising opportunities where you can earn £10 per hour + bonuses!


Maybe travelling has always been at the back of your mind but have always chosen to head straight into university. Whilst travelling is pretty much off the cards at the moment, looking forward to 2021 you could begin putting plans together to travel, before heading off to university for 2021/22.

Here are some companies with jobs abroad for next summer:

Summer Takeover
Camp America
EA Ski

Gap Year Internship

Gap year internships or placements aren’t spoken about much, but they can be a hugely viable option for someone that has missed out on a place at university. They offer the chance to earn money and gain experience in their field of study. This can massively help to land a placement if you are hoping to do a sandwich course or a job once you have graduated.

It could even be treated as an unorthodox way to do your placement year at university, so in effect you are still doing a sandwich course albeit without the interruption of a placement in between year 2 and 3 of your course. In previous years, businesses such as Bank of England , Deloitte and IBM have offered gap year internships, with a duration of between 8 and 12 months.


Apprenticeships rarely get the credit or recognition they deserve. They are in fact growing in popularity as more and more businesses embrace them and see their potential. You may use this time to consider whether you want to go to university at all, so apprenticeships may be a good option to consider.

Degree apprenticeships are also growing in popularity, so you can get paid to obtain your degree – you pay absolutely nothing towards it! You still get part of the university experience as many degree apprenticeships partner with the local university.

An apprenticeship offers students the opportunity to earn while you learn. Typically, they use a mix of on-site training/college work, alongside real-world experience where you can get hands on and learn the relevant skills, not just the classroom knowledge.

Employers rate experience massively, as many times you may have the qualifications but fall short when it comes to actual experience. Apprenticeships offer the best of both worlds and beyond.

At the end of an apprenticeship, you are also given a job. This is hugely beneficial as the next few years are likely to be rough as the UK recovers from Coronavirus and job security is sought after by many.

We could go on about apprenticeships all day but check out our section on apprenticeships here for further details.

Make sure you check if you are still dedicated to going to university next month!

Have you been in touch with your university? Many universities are changing their minds about courses and are now accepting people. If you are unsure whether you now meet the criteria and spaces are available after the government U-turn, get in touch with your desired university ASAP.

Contacting them over the phone is the best course of action, to avoid the delays which email often brings.

We are here for you

If your results and/or lockdown have had an effect on your mental health, please don’t hesitate to seek help. Head to the Mind or Student Minds websites for information and support.

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