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Employers: Degree not essential
Some students may be happier than others when A-level results are published
A degree is not the only route to a successful career, and taking a year off will not always harm a youngster's job prospects, employers have said.
Graduate recruiters are increasingly looking at different ways to select and train school leavers, and also consider vocational courses worthwhile, according to Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).
As A-level results were due to be published, Mr Gilleard offered advice to those who may find that their results are not all that they hoped for.
He said: "My advice for those school leavers considering clearing is to take a step back and consider their options fully - going to university to study for a degree may not be the right path for everyone, and students who are pressured into making a snap decision today may come to regret it."
Clearing is the process that matches students who have not received offers, or who have been turned down by their original choices because they failed to meet the required grades, with available courses.
Mr Gilleard said that AGR members believe that a degree is a "significant asset" and has an impact on a graduate's earning potential.
But he added: "It is not the sole route to a successful career; high level qualifications and vocational courses are also worthwhile, and recruiters are increasingly looking at ways to select and train school leavers.
"Students who miss out a place at their chosen university this year but do want to study for a degree may choose to re-take some A-levels to boost their grades in preparation for re-applying next year.
"Those who take a year out ought also to seize the opportunity to gain experience of the workplace in order to add to their next university application, and to help them to begin preparing for career decisions after university."
For those that do choose to go into clearing, Ucas is running a hotline for would-be students who have questions about their university application, clearing or adjustment, which allows those with better than expected grades to "trade-up" to a different university. The number is 0871 468 0468.
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