Hundreds of West Midlands teenagers will collect A-level results today.
Among them will be Tony Blair's daughter Kathryn who hopes her results will get her a place at her first choice university - Birmingham.
But even as students pick up results, business leaders are already voicing concern A levels are not suitable for employers.
Meanwhile, universities were bracing themselves for phone calls from prospective students.
Birmingham University said it was turning its Great Hall into a clearing controlwith 30 admissions and academic staff.
The team expects to assess more than 6,500 students who have chosen the university as first choice to make a decision on places.
It expects to receive more than 9,000 phone calls.
Roderick Smith, director of admissions at Birmingham University, said: "Clearing can be a stressful time, but our advisors are on hand to help.
"To help the students make the best decision, our advice is not to panic, know what you want to study and apply to a university where the entry requirements match your grades."
But sixth formers planning to go straight into employment were given a stark warning by Birmingham's business community that they may lack the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.
The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry claimed GCSE and A level qualifications were too narrow and restrictive.
Policy adviser Kasia Kurowska criticised the Government, maintaining it had botched an opportunity to reform the qualifications system by failing to adopt recommendations in a report by former chief inspector of schools Mike Tomlinson.
"It called for a complete overhaul of the education system and the introduction of a new Baccalaureate system, which would include vocational and work-based elements and provide our young people with a broad and robust foundation for further achievement in the workplace," she said.
"However, the Government has chosen to ignore this recommendation and instead introduce specialised diplomas that will only go some way to solving the issue of employability of young people today."
Ms Kurowska called on Ministers to rethink educational reforms.
"We would like to see the Government consider again the introduction of a far-reaching, mainstream vocational qualification system to replace the existing system," she said.
A new tier of vocational "specialised diplomas" is being introduced alongside GCSEs and A levels.
By 2013 every 14 to 19-year-old will have the opportunity to study at least one of 14 "lines of learning".
Developed in conjunction with employers, they are designed to make youngsters "work ready" while also providing a route to further and higher education.
The first five - in ICT, health and social care, engineering, creative and media and construction and the built environment - are due to be offered from September 2008.