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Exam results day - a day for making choices

With A Level results being only a day away, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies, Dr Caroline Bligh, reflects on her observations of how students plan for their futures.

Tomorrow (Thursday 14 August) is the day when a great number of young people will be receiving their A level results.

We know that many will be rushing to tell their families and friends – with ‘Mum’ being the first to be told and we also know that there will also be some substantial financial pay-outs by some parents to sons and daughters who have achieved their predicted results.

Clearing Survey Infographic

A level results not only determine specific academic gateways of achievement for these young people, but in doing so they also predictors of future financial earnings. When I speak to some of this year’s school leavers I am remarkably impressed by their knowledge and expertise in the ability to plan for every eventuality. Indeed, many have in readiness a pre-operational plan A, B and C in place prior to receiving their A level results.

Dr Caroline Bligh

In a time when ‘hopping’ onto a career ladder is no longer a ‘given’ opportunity for our new graduates, it is no wonder that so many school leavers are now choosing to study for a professional undergraduate course such as those on offer at our University. Is it possible that students have become such astutely strategic thinkers that they are now less likely to ‘risk’ studying for a pure discipline if they perceive that they have the eventuality of achieving a professional qualification in such areas as Teaching, Law, Medically aligned careers, Engineering, Accountancy etc.? Is future financial stability already a priority in their strategic thinking?


We can only surmise at this stage; but what is clearly apparent is that our young school leavers certainly are driven and will very carefully way up the pros and cons in making their ultimate University course choices – even if it means admission via the University clearing process.

We often hear negative comments about our young people today, but what I see in our current school leavers are thoughtful, intelligent and strategic thinkers who in pursuit of their ultimate academic and career dreams are willing to put the necessary effort into achieving their goals through persistence and incredibly hard work.

About the Author

Dr Caroline Bligh

Caroline is the Head of Subject for Education, Childhood and Early Years within the University’s Carnegie School of Education – a strategic leadership role.

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