HOUSEHOLDS with 18 year olds are in for a tense, nail biting week.

In seven days’ time, results day will prescribe which of the many paths available they might follow next.

We were in that position a year ago, so I would like to offer some words of wisdom and some pieces of advice that I wish we had known this time last year.

Firstly, get your child to check their UCAS portal across the coming week.

Universities will have already received the A level results and will be deciding which students to offer places to.

This year will be the first year of all A levels being in the new format, so results may be erratic.

Last year many people had their offer status changed to unconditional a few days before results came out; this may remove the pressure of waiting to see what the grades are.

If they have not got the grades for their chosen course at their chosen university, do not despair.

I have stories aplenty of hope triumphing over adversity.

Last year a friend’s son had spent an agonising day talking to clearing and in the end gained a place reading a degree he actually prefers to his original choice but at his desired university.

Even for those who want to do a specific degree, there are always ways around it.

A friend’s daughter just missed the grades to read medicine, so she took a place on a biomedical science degree and transferred to medicine at the end of her first year and everything is going swimmingly at the end of her third year.

So, with a little lateral thinking and a lot of patience she has got to exactly where she wants to be but appreciates it even more.

In fact even if your child has got the right grades to get on the first choice course, they may have decided it isn’t right for them.

A friend of my daughter’s gave up her first choice acceptance of an unconditional offer to pursue a different course at a different university through clearing and hasn’t looked back since.

So changes of heart aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

As GCSEs loomed a few years ago, my mother-in-law bought my daughter a little plaque inscribed “Sometimes on the way to a dream you get lost and find a better one”, so remember that failing to get what your child thought was their first choice does not mean they have failed.

In this summer’s Love Island parlance, it is what it is, and in this instance, it is a brilliant opportunity to find a new and much better dream, but their dream not yours.