The anxious wait is finally over as students across the West Midlands find out how they have fared in their A-levels.
Thousands of teens were discovering if they had earned the grades needed to take up offers of university places. But they also had the added pressure of being the first crop of students to face paying up to £9,000-a-year in tuition fees.
Park Hall Academy in Castle Bromwich, which was branded “failing” by Ofsted just six years ago, extended a record-breaking run by notching up an improvement in A-level results for the fourth year running.
Principal Tony Morrison, who took over in 2009, put the success down to hard work and a good relationship between staff, students and parents.
He said: “Every year for the last four years we have been able to say these are the best set of A-level results we have ever had and I feel very proud to say that again this year. We are very, very happy with our results.”
Around 40 students at Park Hall were receiving results, with youngsters hoping to go on to study subjects including medicine and social sciences.
The results came as research revealed students were becoming increasingly choosy about university amid concerns over high levels of debt.
The move to triple tuition fees has put more pressure on youngsters to make good decisions about higher education, according to research by Oxford University.
A poll of 700 sixth-formers found many of them thought that going to university required a significant cash investment and that it had to be “worth it”.
Students starting degree courses at English universities this autumn will be the first to pay tuition fees of up to £9,000.
Loans can be taken out to cover the fees, which are repayable when a graduate earns £21,000 or more.
The study also showed two-fifths of those questioned were either “concerned or very concerned” about debt.
Mr Morrison said many pupils still opted for higher education despite the hike in tuition fees, with some choosing to study close to home.
He said: “We have a seen a number of students who have thought much more carefully about their progression routes, but overall with this sort of academic pedigree, they are still going for higher education.
“Students have been looking at studying more locally, and there is a wide choice of good universities like Birmingham and Warwick.
“We have also seen students, including those who have studied BTEC courses, who have looked at what bursaries they can apply for.”
The Oxford University study said those students who were the first in their family to go to university were more likely to have thought about the debt they would incur than those who had seen relatives go on to higher education.
Researcher Dr Hubert Ertl, from the centre on skills, knowledge and organisational performance at Oxford, said: “Many of the sixth-formers we questioned were not sure about the financial costs and benefits of a degree, and it seemed they postponed concerns about debt until later.
“They were clear that higher fees had increased the pressure on them to make the right decisions concerning where they invested their time and money.
“There was also a sense that if they didn’t get the place of their choice in the institution of their choice, they might think of something else to do.”