The academic year 2020-21 is likely to be unlike any other in living memory. Most universities plan to deliver most lectures online. This means students will, on average, have fewer contact hours than they might otherwise expect. Students are deferring at higher levels, some because they fear a loss of value for money or that their degrees would be worth less. Universities hope to avoid the problem getting out of control and insisting that online study is perfectly deliverable.
Is Deferral Really the Right Option?
Before you send off the deferral request, it’s important to ask whether it is right for you to do so. You’re going to be among many thousands who do. If you can start a course this year, you should strongly consider it. Universities have had months to prepare and are going to deliver your courses in the safest way possible.
However, if you feel you have no other option, here are some other options.
Work and Save Up
A-level finishers in a conventional year will often take a year out to earn some money. With budgets tight, it’s always wise to squirrel away as much as you can. Right now, there are jobs in fruit picking, caring work, delivery drivers (the pandemic has seen increased need for all these). Some of these are vacant because international seasonal workers aren’t currently available. Other jobs, even with experience, may be difficult to come by, so target jobs with a constant need for new blood, those most affected by the pandemic.
Start a Work from Home Business
This is a great alternative to working from home. Getting started now on a small business now could provide you with steady income while studying. It doesn’t have to be anything requiring too much attention. Stock photography, photo editing, or just a monetised blog are all viable work from home small businesses right now. Some freelance jobs are hard to get into, especially as so many people are having the same idea to make ends meet during the pandemic. What are you good at? Could you earn money from it?
Sit A-Level Exams in the Autumn
This is especially useful for students who feel their calculated average grade is lower than expected. All students who missed out on exams this year will be permitted to take them in the autumn. Understand that this replaces your calculated 2019-2020 grade. If it is lower, this could affect your conditional offers. Unless you think it’s likely your grade will go up massively, it’s not worth the risk. If you decide to go to university for this coming year, most institutions permit late starters.