What to do if you didn’t get the result you were expecting…

If you didn’t get the degree result that you were expecting, then it is natural to feel deflated. As well as coming to terms with this, you’ll have had family and friends getting in touch to ask how you got and you’ll certainly have seen numerous celebratory posts on social media…

Student looking unsatisfying with results

In 2018-19, 23% of graduates (93,765) received a 2:2 or a 3rd first degree qualification (HESA, 2019) – so you definitely won’t be alone in feeling like this. Although you might not have gotten the grade that you were hoping for, it is still really important to celebrate your achievement. At the end of the day, you should remember that have completed your university course and that you do have a degree.

Whilst you may find that the outcome of your results has changed your plans, you can use this as your chance to reflect and determine what is it that you want going forward, and there will definitely still be exciting opportunities for you to consider.

Taking your next steps after university can feel daunting for anyone but when you are ready, here are six things to consider if you didn’t get the result you were expecting…

1. Not all graduate schemes and graduate jobs have minimum requirements…

The first thing to consider is that not all graduate opportunities have minimum requirements. In fact, a number of firms have started to take a more flexible approach to their recruitment with some high-profile organisations even removing their entry criteria.

Examples of graduate employers who are open to applications from graduates who have a 2:2, or who have removed degree classification from their entry criteria include: Arcadia, the Army, the Civil Service, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, EY, Jaguar Land Rover, John Lewis, Network Rail, the NHS, Penguin Random House, PoliceNow, PwC, Sky, TeachFirst… and many more. 

2. Try to be proactive… but don’t ignore these minimum requirements

If you apply for opportunities that have minimum degree requirements and hope for the best, it is likely that you will be rejected. Instead of this, try reaching out first and speaking with those organisations who are asking for a particular degree classification. Be proactive and ask them if they might accept an application one grade lower (e.g. 2:2 for 2:1, 3rd for 2:2 etc.). Whilst this is not always going to work, some organisations have been known to say yes!

And If they are not able to do this, then think creatively – the organisation is unlikely to just recruit graduates so are there any lower-level positions that you could apply to? Could you work your way up to where you want to be? You could also think about who their competitors are – what are their degree classification entry requirements? Could you gain experience working for them and then make the switch? 

3. Use your contacts, build your network and think about the smaller organisations

Developing your network is a great way to find out about more opportunities. Now is the time to reach out to anyone you know in the industry that you are interested in – ask them for their advice and their insight. If you don’t know anyone, start thinking about how you can make new connections. For example, attend relevant networking events, join a professional body, use the LinkedIn Alumni tool or even think about who you could follow on social media.

As well as this, you should consider opportunities with start-ups and small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). These organisations employ 60% of the UK workforce and their graduate-level opportunities are often less competitive than large graduate schemes and are generally more flexible with their entry requirements. They can offer great opportunities for early responsibility and career development. 

4. Broaden your horizons – think about how else you could gain experience

As well as these graduate opportunities, you could also think about gaining experience with…

Apprenticeships: there have been a lot of changes made to apprenticeships recently and it means that more organisations are now offering these roles. As well as receiving a recognised qualification, it is a great way of getting paid work experience with a particular employer. 

Internships: a great way to get your foot in the door of an organisation that you are keen to work for. Whilst they are generally more common for students at university, many employers are open to accepting graduates and some even run internships for graduates.

Starting Your Own Business: this will not be for everyone, but you could think about starting your own business. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, this could be a great time to take that great idea that you have had further – find out more about doing this. 

5. Explore whether postgraduate study could help you

As with graduate opportunities, not all postgraduate courses will have minimum degree classification requirements, so continuing your studies could definitely be an option worth considering.

In some areas further study can open doors to new possibilities and if this is something that you are interested in, definitely do your research before applying. Have a clear idea about what you want to do afterwards and make sure that your chances will be improved by taking the course. Obviously, there is also a cost element to consider but Master’s loans are available in the UK. 

6. Careers are still here to help as all graduates get 18 months careers support…

When you finish your degree, your access to careers does not just simply stop – UoR graduates get 18 months of continued support.

One action that you may want to take is to create a free graduate account on MyJobsOnline, as this will enable you to access vacancies posted by recruiters actively seeking to employ Reading students and graduates. As well as this, there are free webinars designed specifically for graduates, 1:1 appointments with careers consultants, a range of careers and employer led events … and much more!

So, remember – careers are here to support you after your degree. Get in touch with us if you have any questions or if need any advice about how to get to where you want to be.


If you have found this blog useful and want to find out more… check out these useful links:

What to do if you get a 2:2 degree

How to job hunt if you get a 2:2

What to do if you didn’t get the degree you wanted

The Graduate Job Podcast: How to Get a Graduate Job with a 2.2 or 3rd Class Degree

Permanent link to this article: https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/careers/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-get-the-result-you-were-expecting/

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