Awarded a 2:2 degree? Here’s what to do next.

Getting a 2:2 can feel like a kick in the teeth. If you’re reading this, you’re probably either worried about being awarded one, or the dreaded results have already come through.


Although it’s likely you’ll be disappointed, it’s important to remember that being awarded a 2:2 degree isn’t the end of the world! There are plenty of successful people out there who started their careers with a 2:2 grade.


In this article, Enrol takes you through some practical steps to moving forward after receiving your 2:2 degree.


First stop – Appeal

Depending on your university grading guidelines and any extenuating circumstances you may have been under during your course, you may be able to appeal for your degree to be bumped up to a 2:1.


Some universities will offer a 0.5-2% grading margin, whereby you can appeal for a 59 to be increased to a 60, for example.


Extenuating or mitigating circumstances can be covered in an appeal and tend to be judged on a case by case basis. As a general rule, circumstances which are worthy of a successful appeal must have:


  • be out of the student’s control (i.e. the student couldn’t have prevented them)
  • seriously impacted the student’s ability to perform to their best ability during the assessment period
  • occurred at a relevant time to the assessment in question (in order to have had an impact)


Again, this policy is not general, but will apply to most universities around the UK. Your best bet is to speak to your personal tutor or student liaison officer about an appeal – they’ll be able to tell you whether it’s worth filling in an extenuating circumstances form.


Check if your job offer is conditional

If you have a conditional job offer, being awarded a 2:2 can feel like being pushed two steps backwards. However, some employers may be more flexible than you expect.


Get in touch with your prospective employer and see if there is any room for manoeuvre. Chances are that if you impressed them at the interview stage, they may still offer you the job.


When they ask for an explanation – unless you have clear mitigating circumstances – it’s best to rely on your experience and the skills you’ve gained since your interview.


Don’t forget about graduate schemes

Although most graduate schemes operate a 2:1 or nothing policy, there are many out there that don’t. If you’re dead set on getting straight into work, research “companies that will accept a 2:2”.


In this case, you’re more likely to have to sell your experience and personality than your degree in order to differentiate yourself from other candidates.


Prepare well for interviews, and avoid making excuses – employers want forward-thinking individuals to join their team, and being optimistic will show you’re not the type to be knocked back by a disappointment.


Optimise your CV for employment

It’s likely that during your final semester at university, keeping your CV up to scratch was brushed under the rug a little. Now’s your chance to sort it out and get it ‘job ready’.


Although you may want to brush over your 2:2 degree, honesty is the best policy when writing a successful CV. Recruiters will take one look at a clumsily worded ‘Second Class Honours Degree’ or ‘Degree in Business’, and scoff.


Simply state your 2:2 to show employers that you’re neither ashamed nor untrustworthy. It’s likely that your CV will be experience focused, so make sure you pick the most relevant skills you’ve gathered over the years.


If you’re going for a wide range of jobs, tailor your CV to each application. It won’t take long, but a bit of focused keyword tweaking could make the difference between your CV being dropped into a bin, and being placed top of the pile.


Don’t underestimate working for an SME

Many graduates feel that going straight from university to a job in a big corporate firm is the fastest way to progress their careers. However, many graduate schemes run by big brand employers operate a blanket 2:1 policy and are less likely to consider you on an individual basis if you apply with a 2:2.


Small to medium-sized businesses make up over 99% of the UK’s market share. To be classified as an SME, a company must have fewer than 250 employees. In agency sectors like consulting, digital marketing, and design; you’ll likely be able to find successful companies with fewer than 20 employees.


Agency life is fast-paced and varied, but often relies on experience over degree credentials. If you can prove your worth and integrate well with a smaller team, they might just take you on regardless of your official result.


Apply directly

Although larger companies tend to advertise their vacancies online, nearly 40% of job opportunities are never advertised externally. This is quite common in agency circles, where recommendation by word of mouth (as well as reputation), can set you in good stead for securing a role.


To apply speculatively, you should call the employers that you’re interested in working for.


By calling, you not only set yourself apart from other candidates, but also give yourself the opportunity to deliver an elevator pitch (a quick rundown of your experience, education, and the reason you want to work for the company in question.)


Although simply sending an email over can be tempting, these are usually ignored, especially if they’re heading to an internal server from an external or unknown address.


Recruiters and secretaries alike deal with hundreds of emails daily, and they’re not going to prioritise yours in a queue of invoices, demands, and requests from superiors.


Once you’ve delivered your elevator pitch, ask to be put through to recruitment. If you do a bit of digging on LinkedIn prior to calling, you may be able to skip the initial secretary step and go straight to the person in charge of hiring new people.


The recruitment manager will be able to tell you if there are any junior or graduate positions available. If they don’t, or they sound uninterested, push to have your CV put on file. This way, you still get your details on their radar.


Finally… don’t give up!

Yes, there will be setbacks in your search for a job. Maybe you’ll decide to resit a semester or return to university and start afresh. These are all personal choices, and there’s no right or wrong.


However, it’s important to remember not to fall at the first hurdle. If you can sell your experience and your passion for your chosen sector, employers will notice.


Use Enrol to find your dream university course, tailored specifically to you by subject, location, and type.