It seems only a moment ago that a friend pointed out that results day was a month away, and back then a month seemed a long time and definitely far too early to worry. Now, suddenly, the day is almost upon us, but it still all seems a little confusing (even with those little red booklets, although mine seems to have mysteriously disappeared), so here are my 15 top points for results day:

General

1. Make sure you go to results day with ID, so you can pick up your results, and your UCAS Track login details – there are reasons why you may need them below.

2. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you may want to download the UCAS app, which lets you check the status of your application, although it doesn’t allow you to change anything. I say ‘may’ because the app is temperamental at best and usually slow, so you might end up getting very frustrated when you want it to update quickly. Also available from the App Store and Android market is the new Clearing app, run by the Independent in conjunction with UCAS, which from a quick play looks to be pretty useful (although most aspects of it don’t go live until tomorrow), with updates live from UCAS, so perhaps something else that may be handy to get before you leave the house.

3. If you meet the conditions of any of your offers on or before August 31st, the university must accept you and you should receive a letter confirming this shortly. For most qualifications UCAS sends the results to your universities automatically, but you can check if they will send yours at http://www.ucas.com/students/results/examresults.

4. If you missed your grades narrowly, your university may still have accepted you, so check Track for that (here’s where your login details might come in handy). If Track shows as unsuccessful or still as conditional, then ring the university up and plead your case, particularly if you only missed the grades by a few UMS or had mitigating circumstances. Be warned though, this is not certain to work and will almost never work for the most competitive courses and universities.

5. If you are close to the grade above, or feel that your grade definitely doesn’t reflect how you did (you never know, there may have been a clerical error), then you can get a remark, which might be paid for by your school or college. If you need the remark to meet an offer, you need to apply for a priority remark, since you still need to meet the August 31st deadline. These do cost more so if you want a remark for other reasons just have a standard one. This also frees up the system for the people who desperately need them.

6. Changed course offers come from the university you originally applied for and will be, as the name implies, for a different course to the one you originally held an offer for. You can accept these through Track. If the changed course offer was made by your insurance choice, your firm needs to have first rejected you before you can accept it.

Adjustment

7. If you’ve done better than your firm offer, you have the option of applying to other courses through Adjustment, which you can enter through Track. You need to have paid the full £21 originally for this, or pay the extra £10, but it gives you five days after either August 18th or when your first choice accepts you, whichever is later, to secure a different place.

8. If you do go into Adjustment, there are a few things to consider. You have not exceeded your offer if your original offer specified a grade in a subject and this grade is lower, regardless of whether you exceeded the rest. You also need to ring up the universities or colleges to ask about spaces, making it clear that you’re doing Adjustment, not Clearing (more about this in a moment). For really competitive courses it is probably best to re-apply next year, although going through Adjustment does not lose you your original place.

Clearing

9. If you did not meet your conditions, don’t hold any offers, or did not reply in time you will be automatically entered into Clearing (provided you’ve paid the full £21) and should log into Track to get your Clearing number (see, those Track login details are coming in handy again). However, if you had any offers that you originally turned down, ringing up these universities could be your first port of call.

10. Clearing vacancies are posted between mid-August and late September, and you can register for it until September 20th even if you haven’t applied through UCAS before. Lists of course vacancies will be posted on the UCAS website and in the Telegraph newspaper, starting from August 18th. You should try to be around during the Clearing period so that you can talk to universities and make decisions yourself.

11. You may informally be offered places when speaking to universities on the phone, which you then need to decide whether you’re going to accept or not. You will normally be given a date by which you need to enter their course details in Track and once you do this you will be formally considered. Only enter the course details if you have been provisionally offered a place and you want to accept it, otherwise you could delay your Clearing process.

12. You can apply for a course different to the one you originally applied for, but they will automatically receive your original personal statement, so ring up the university and ask if they will accept a revised copy if you want to apply for a different course.

13. With both Clearing and Adjustment, try to visit the university before making your final decision – after all, you may be spending the next few years of your life there so you want to be happy with it.

Student Finance

14. Everyone should have hopefully applied for Student Finance by now and submitted any evidence that was needed. If you are going to be attending a different course to the one you applied for finance with (i.e. your firm), you should log into Student Finance as soon as you know where you are going to change your course details. This will mean Student Finance can pay the right amount, especially if the amount of either tuition fees or maintenance loan you need has changed.

Lastly

15. Now to think about other things. Firstly, some accommodation may need you to pay a deposit not long after results come out, if they haven’t already (mine is the 1st of September, for instance). Also, it’s time to open a student bank account, a good guide for which can be found here. Some banks accept an offer letter to open one, but others need to see a letter of confirmation.

Well, there you are: what I think is the most important information you’ll need for results day 2011. Now, go relax and avoid caffeine to ensure you sleep tonight – you’ll need the energy. If not for results day itself, then for the inevitable drinks of celebration or commiseration. Good luck for tomorrow; I really hope you get what you wanted!