Now those results have come through, here's what to do next
Universities and further education colleges are on standby today as thousands of students across Northern Ireland receive their A-level results.
University applicants who achieve the exact grades or points specified in their conditional offer should have their place confirmed through UCAS following the publication of today's results.
Students who do better than expected can, through the adjustment process, hold their offer while they look for an alternative course. It may be difficult, however, to find a vacancy on a high demand course. Full details are available on the UCAS website
Students who average out or narrowly miss the grades required may still be accepted for their original choice but they should check with the institution.
Decisions made by Queen's, the Ulster University and Stranmillis University College are posted on a website hosted by Queen's and updated twice a day. This also carries the most comprehensive details and is the simplest way to find out about the status of an application and clearing vacancies. Details are also published on the UCAS website.
Any student unable to gain admission to either their firm or insurance choice, and who is not offered an acceptable alternative course, will be eligible to participate in the clearing process. Details of clearing vacancies appear in the national Press, on www.ucas.com and on university websites.
Alternatively, some students may decide to repeat one or more subjects and reapply for 2016 entry. Any student considering this option should check with the institution concerned about receiving an offer as a repeat candidate, and remember the entry requirements may be different.
An Ulster University spokesperson said it will hold advice days at its four campuses on Friday, with advisers on hand to take applicants through all the options available to them. The Open University also offers a route into higher education and has no entry requirements. Its open day on August 20 in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast, from 2pm to 7pm will give an opportunity to to speak to advisers.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's six Regional Further Education Colleges are preparing for strong interest in their higher education provision. Their students can study a foundation degree, higher level apprenticeship, honours degree or higher national diploma.
The Armed Forces Careers Office in Belfast will be holding careers clinics on Thursday, August 13 for A-level students and on Thursday, August 20, for GCSE students at Palace Barracks in Holywood.
Useful websites and phone numbers
Queen's University telephone support number 028 9097 3838 (9.30am to 6.00pm on Thursday 13 and Friday, August 14)
Ulster University inquiry line 028 7028 7028 (Thursday, August 13).
Colleges NI - 028 9068 2296 www.collegesni.ac.uk