Cambridge Regional College - Centre of Vocational Excellence

BLOG: College vs University plus a timetable of what to expect on A-Level Results Day

If A Level results day feels confusing, then read on for tips on what to expect, how to plan for the big day and a break down of college vs university.

Plan A, B or even C

Make sure you have a plan for every possibility. This might be a range of choice destinations at university, an apprenticeship or a job. Many BTEC students already have their results and will have confirmed places at university or chosen next step.

University vs College

Results Day may be a day to re-consider university offers or even course options. It could be the time when you decide you would rather study higher education at college locally or find an apprenticeship and start your career whilst gaining qualifications.


Benefits of studying Higher Education qualifications at College

College is £4,990 a year compared to £9,000 a year at University

Living at home helps reduce costs

Learners who care for family members can remain within the family unit

College local to home suits mature learners with family commitments

Students suffering anxiety may feel better-suited to their local college

Community atmosphere at a smaller college campus


Advice Cafés

Want to find out more about college life while studying Higher Education qualifications? Cambridge Regional College is running an A level Advice Café on Thursday August 15 from 9am to 4pm.

Further Advice Cafés run from Thursday August 22 to September 4 at both the Cambridge and Huntingdon campus sites. Professional careers staff will be on hand to give advice on next steps. Find out days and times by following this link:




Benefits of studying Higher Education qualifications at University

A chance to embrace independent living

Some students thrive on breaking away from the locality to make new friends

For learners who wish to study a very specific course option, it may only available at university

Opportunity to embrace new challenge


The Clearing process could be a time to look at both universities and further education settings, like Cambridge Regional College, to see what is available.

The UCAS Clearing process opened on July 5.Find courses with vacancies that interest you, then contact universities or colleges directly, to see if they will offer you a place.



Cambridge University is participating in the UCAS Adjustment process for the first time in 2019, giving young people from under-represented backgrounds, who were interviewed but got turned down, a second chance to secure a place.



For all questions and advice call the Exam Results Helpline 0800 100 900. It opens at 8am on August 15 and runs daily until August 29 from 8am to 10pm.




Have the following ready: Your UCAS Track login details, fully charged mobile phone, notebook and pen, contact details for your university choices AND the web address of both Clearing and Adjustment UCAS pages.

Also have to hand, details of any conditional offers and Clearing phone numbers for universities of interest,

Have a contingency list of back-up courses to hand that you’ve researched beforehand.

Your personal statement

Your GCSE results


The UCAS social-media team will be online to answer any questions.

Try contacting them on Twitter at @ucas_online or Facebook at


The UCAS contact centre opens for enquiries


Helpline opens and Track goes live 

You’ll be able to see your university confirmation, but not your grades. You will have to pick these up from your school or college. Check your emails before 8am as sometimes your university will have emailed you directly before Track opens.

Met your grades?

Track will update to tell you if you have got into your favourite or back-up university choice, and you can view your confirmation letter in Track.

Narrowly missed your grades?

Don’t panic! If you have missed your required grades by a narrow margin, your university may still accept you on your course – make sure you speak to them first. Alternatively, your chosen university may offer you a slightly different course, which you’ll need to accept through Track. If this doesn’t happen, proceed to Clearing, where you can apply for other courses, either at the same university or at a different one.

Completely missed your grades?

This is your cue to start ringing courses in Clearing that are on your back-up list.

If your grades are far better than you were predicted, you may wish to change your university options. Consider applying through Adjustment, which allows you to trade up to a better university or course without losing your current offer.

Got an offer but changed your mind?

You can use UCAS Track to decline your place and enter Clearing. Ask teachers, parents and universities for advice to make a fully informed decision.

Want to defer your choice for a year?

Call your university. You won’t lose your place just for asking, but it’s a good idea to have a reason why you want to defer. Some places allow you to defer, others don’t.


Enter your Clearing choice into Track

Clearing only opens at 3pm, giving everyone time to speak to universities and find a place. Only add a Clearing choice once you have permission from the university or college.

Cambridge Campus Status

The Cambridge Campus is open as normal.

Huntingdon Campus Status

The Huntingdon Campus is open as normal.