The thought of university is such a daunting and difficult process - you're making decisions that can affect the rest of your life and you're trying to balance what you enjoy and what you're good at. It’s a difficult process so working out the best way to handle to suit you is vital. I didn’t manage it in the most conventional way but it worked best for me so it worked out well.
At the start of year 13 I was convinced I wanted to study music but very rapidly discovered that my real passion lay with psychology. I began by looking at psychology degrees and the panic started to kick in as the grades were pretty much out of reach for me (or so I thought). My teacher advised me to look into joint degrees as they tend to lower the grade requirements and this led me to look into psychology with criminology which was a course I didn't even know existed and realised was perfect for me.
Then came deciding which 5 universities I'd choose. I began by making a list of each of the ones I liked and the requirements. Next, I picked my three favourites that had reasonable grade requirements for me which closely matched my targets. I then picked one of the lower requirement universities as a back-up and then I chose one higher university with hopes that I'd get an offer.
I was extremely fortunate to get offers from all five of my universities choices which then led to even more dilemmas as to whether I'd go with the 'reasonable' and 'lower' ones or push myself for my firm/insurance. I managed to make my decision going for a 'reasonable' one as my insurance and then decided I'd push myself with a higher one – which I managed to get in to!
Although universities don't like to shout about it, very regularly if they like you enough to give you an offer, they'll probably let you in with a grade lower than the requirements they gave you. I was actually 2 grades off what I needed but as I obtained an A* in psychology, they accepted me.
My best advice for anyone would be to definitely at least apply to university because having as many options as you can for the September after you finish A Levels is a great comfort to have. I am a prime example of that as I had a potential job lined up, possible work experience and a university offer.
I wasn't even going to apply, then I was sure I wanted a year out and yet now, here I am, sat at my desk at university, happy. Just keep your options open because being indecisive isn't necessarily a bad thing as it can lead you to exactly what you want to do.