How to prepare for A Level Results
This week, millions of children will be anxiously awaiting their A Level results tomorrow and planning the realisation of their hopes and dreams of their next stage in life.
3 years ago I wrote a blog about my son , you can find it here
I am so pleased to report that, having followed a new direction, a heart over head decision he has successfully graduated and has had the best time along the way. But the reason I wrote that blog was to encourage other parents to be creative on results day, if the results close one door, there are many doors open which are welcoming, beckoning and exciting . All it needs is a brainstorm and a leap of faith.
What to do on results day if the Grades don’t open the door to the next stage
Have a discussion about connecting dreams to education. Often children can be carried along with a limited belief and acceptance of how their talents are pigeon holed at school or that they can’t study a subject at Uni, because all their A level’s are in the wrong subjects. I strongly encourage you to adopt a coaching stance style in this discussion as it also gives your child a chance to admit….”actually, I never really wanted to study that, but I got swept along with the idea at school”. Our children are backed into a position from the age of 14, of having to make choices about a future career before they’ve had an opportunity to venture into the realm of part time work at 16 or truly discovered their own authentic identity and therefore sometimes choices are grasped at rather than truly considered.
Some helpful pointers of how to direct a coaching style of conversation are:
- What have you always loved doing or reading about, what nourishes your soul and fires up your passion for learning or discovering more?
- What people do you admire and why? How have they achieved their ambitions?
- What bothers you in the world, and would you like to try and fix it?
- What skills do you possess v what gifts/talents do you possess and how do these match up
Thursday looms and it will go. For some it will be a straightforward pathway, but for others it will be tough. This is the marking point of 7 years hard slog study and dreams can be crushed by the opening of an envelope. Sue Atkins, another Parenting Coach suggests that we as parents can ease the impact of that envelope with the following advice:
- “Well, the first thing is not to look disappointed and look to blame someone – it’s a natural reaction but it’s not helpful because it will not move you all as a family into a more resourceful place.
- Stay grounded, centred and positive for your teen – even if you feel upset or disappointed for them and don’t allow your partner’s reaction to cloud or influence yours ! Often in life we look back and say – gosh I’m really glad that happened as …. this wouldn’t have happened …. and I wouldn’t have …. travelled, met my wife , or spent time in Bristol instead.
- Try to help your teen focus on what will be coming, what they have learnt from the situation and how they can move forward either with retakes or where to go instead.
- Start to immediately focus on what has gone well, and what they can do next. By helping to stay calm and keeping relaxed and open you can start to ponder more options – the secret for them is to remain calm, open minded and flexible so they can go and talk to the right people who can help plan the next small steps.
- But while it may feel like the end of the world for a teenager whose dreams have just gone up in smoke, they may have only taken a detour, and it might not be quite as bad as it seems. For help is at hand like never before to ensure that initial disappointment can be turned around”.
What to consider:
My advice is to think carefully about re-takes. It can be very isolating and demoralising hanging about waiting to do these the following summer when all your friends have gone off to pastures new, and what’s worse is seeing all their posts of having a great time on social media. We are experiencing an academically driven culture like never before, children are being brainwashed that academic excellence defines whether they will be successful or not in their future world, and as a result self esteem is suffering and anxiety is the fastest growing illness in the UK. It is up to us as parents to re-inforce that exams are not a defining conclusion of our worth, (in the heat of Thursday, good luck with that one, you maybe ignored!!) But, as in all walks of life, negotiation is there for the taking for those who have the confidence. Universities are desperate to fill their quotas, as applications are declining, so give it a go, you have nothing to lose. Getting through the admissions secretary to speak to the department, is a bit like getting past a Doctor’s receptionist , so good luck, but it can be done!
Gap years are worth considering working and travelling gives time out to reassess and make leisurely rather than hurried choices, it also gives a newly acquired maturity to those decisions once the world of work is fully experienced. But most importantly for tomorrow, don’t cancel that lovely dinner you were going to cook, their favourite meal, or that restaurant reservation , or whatever else you were going to do. The celebration might not be what was expected, but a celebration of new beginnings, and new journeys, but above all a celebration of your family being together and instilling values of loving each other for each other, come what may.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.