what to do if you don’t get into your first choice uni

Applying to uni is overwhelming – even more so when you don’t get your first choice, or things just don’t go the way you expected them to. But the fact is, it’s more common than people realise. So here’s how to cope when things don’t go your way.

Don’t panic

It seems obvious, but when I didn’t get into my first choice, I totally shut down. For me, it was the be all and end all – and I’m sure that’s the case for many others. But don’t do what I did – stay calm and remember there are loads of options. Just because you didn’t get into your first choice doesn’t mean you can’t go to uni at all, or that your life is ruined, or that you’re not good enough. Life’s thrown you a curveball, that’s all.

Think about your options

Gap year? Your insurance choice? Clearing? The system is designed to facilitate things going wrong, so don’t worry. Your insurance choice is there for a reason, and even if you decide you don’t want to go there, you can still consider going through clearing or taking a gap year.

Don’t be bitter, be better

Success is the best revenge. I felt so smug on Results Day for exceeding my original offer for Cambridge when they’d rejected me. Plus, if you decide to go for a gap year or go through clearing, by securing marks as high as possible, you really open doors for yourself and keep loads of options open. Unis are more willing to talk to you about clearing if you’ve exceeded their requirements, so don’t hinder yourself by giving up.

Take the plunge

If you’re really upset about missing your first choice, chances are, you were dead set on it. But open your mind up – would it really be so bad to go somewhere else? It’s cheesy, but I believe everything happens for a reason. Be open-minded to other choices, and you may end up having the best time of your life there.

Talk to people

Don’t bottle it up. It’s hard as hell, but don’t take it out on yourself. Whether you just need a friendly shoulder to cry on or actual counselling, be sure to talk about your feelings. It’s hard to believe, but in a year’s time, it won’t matter at all.

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