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THE UK: Subject Guides

Options After A-Levels (or equivalent)


While thousands of students may be celebrating their A-Level results, many others are reconsidering their options. If you didn’t get a place at university, don’t worry, it isn’t the end of the world but you will have to consider it a challenge! Therefore, it is important that you take into account the variety of options for further education available for you. Hotcourses’ Student Editor Umar will assist you in your search for new opportunities.

Different Paths to Higher Education

Most of the students that take the A-level exams have an idea of the course and university where they want to study. Even students who have missed out on the required grades for their courses can get into a university through the Clearing process of Universities and Colleges Admissions Service - UCAS.

Clearing is the process whereby UCAS, UK Universities and Colleges match any course vacancies which have not yet been filled to students who are still searching for a suitable course offer. Applicants can contact the institutions directly to discuss the courses available and whether their application can be considered.

Other than clearing, you can choose among a wide range of Foundation courses where you can learn either an entirely new subject or improve a current area of expertise, hence the possibility to get better employability or admission to higher education. An example could be studying a business foundation year which is highly demanded in the labour market and will allow you to increase your employment opportunities as soon as you finish.

Furthermore, studying private has also proven to be very successful amongst students in recent years. BPP offers business and law degrees at 14 UK study centres. Although fees are high (around £10K/year), the programmes are packed into two years of intensive study, so the overall cost will be less than many state institutions (able to charge up to £9K a year).

Planning a Gap Year

Another option which is becoming increasingly popular among students around the world is taking a Gap year. In a gap year, anything can be done like:

Taking a gap year is a good way of gaining more experience before going on to further study at university. Even if getting a job seems a long way off, taking a gap year can also improve your CV. Potential employers see the time spent in a gap year very positively as they feel the student has broadened horizons and looked a bit out of the bag.


There are great opportunities out there which are useful as you can get a recognised qualification and kick start on your career. Apprenticeships are great opportunities to join the world of work and start earning a salary. 

Basically, apprenticeships combine working in your preferred profession or trade while also attending a college course on a daily basis. Hence, it benefits both ways, as proper industry-recognised qualifications are gained as well as the opportunity to start a career. The best thing about it is that as it’s a paid training, it helps you in becoming more independent.

Whichever decision you make, just ensure it’s thoroughly consulted, the options are carefully researched and respond to your preferences. Finally, it’s very important that you don’t let a year pass before you making up your mind. Remember that:  “Time waits for no one so don’t wait for time.”

Have you find this article useful? Find more relevant information about:

Scholarship search and funding offered in the UK.

As student, you are entitled to work for certain number of hours depending on the length and level of the course that you are undertaking. Learn more about the requirements for working in the UK.

If you need a little help on deciding which university to choose, you can read more about UK academic institutions and the latest university rankings, right here on Hotcourses.

We also recommend that you stay up to date with changes to visa legislation. Read our recent article about this, or visit the Official UKBA website

For other interesting articles and guides, take a look around the Hotcourses Pakistan website and feel free to comment or ask anything below.

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