Hundreds of thousands of teenagers are gearing up to receive their A-level results, as universities offer a record numbers of degree places.
This year’s results come as the cap on student numbers in England is lifted.
It has prompted speculation that universities will try to attract more students at the last minute.
Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their results by post, email, and text message and heading into schools to collect them.
Schools and colleges received the results on Wednesday and will have been analysing how their students have performed.
But they are not permitted to release results to the some 300,000 expectant students until 06:00 BST on Thursday.
And with many places in higher education hanging on A-level grades, students will be on tenterhooks to find out where they will be spending their next few years studying.
In the run-up to results day, however, many universities have been attempting to secure students on to courses by revising conditional offers into unconditional ones.
Admission tutors have been asking students to get back in touch with universities ahead of A-level results day.
And with no official limit on the number of places universities are permitted to offer, there is likely to be more scope for movement.
England’s exams regulator, Ofqual, has said there has been a rise in the number of candidates sitting traditional subjects, such as maths and English.
This rise in popularity may also be linked to the most selective universities urging students to avoid subjects admission tutors perceive to be less rigorous.
In 2011, the Russell Group of research-intensive universities published guidance advising students to take at least two choices from a list of “facilitating” A-level subjects.
A Russell Group spokesman said: “The recent increase in the number of students taking facilitating subjects at A-level is welcome news.”
Any unallocated university places are matched with students with the right grades through the process known as “clearing”, run by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, Ucas.
The spokesman added that some of these universities may have places available for students who had done better than expected, and for highly qualified students who had narrowly missed out on their first choice.
“We encourage those students to get in touch with Ucas to see whether there may be places available to them,” he said.
Pam Tatlow, of university think tank Million Plus, said clearing would not be too different from previous years, despite the removal of the cap on student numbers,
“A lot of activity has gone on before clearing in terms of unconditional offers, and as usual there will be competition and students will have choices to make,” she said.
“Students will have to keep calm and think about what is the right course for them.”
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