What You Need to Know
- You can stay in full-time learning at a college or a sixth form, or sometimes both!
- There are lots of courses to choose from, such as A levels or vocationally-related qualifications (VRQs) – see Qualifications explained. Courses are available from Entry Level to Level 3 – the level you will study will depend on your GCSE grades.
- Going to college or sixth form is not just for those who have GCSEs – there are courses for everyone.
- After you have completed your course, you may be able to move on to further courses at the next level, higher education, an Apprenticeship or employment.
- There may be the opportunity to study full-time with different providers including colleges, sixth forms, training providers and employers. This will help you to make the most of a range of courses and gain experience of the world of work.
Things to Think About
- Check the entry requirements carefully – some courses may ask for certain subjects and grades at GCSE or certain BTEC qualifications, or both.
- You may be asked to provide your own equipment if it is important for your training – though you may be able to get some financial help.
- Applying for some courses can be very competitive. You may have to attend an interview and undertake an assessment, or provide examples of work you have done in school. You may even need to ask for a reference from your tutor.
- Deciding whether to study at a college or sixth form is a big decision in itself – make sure you attend open days or taster sessions to see what it’s like before you make any final decisions.
You will be fully supported by your tutors no matter where you study. There are also extra support services to help you with your studies.
- Although there is lots of support available you will be expected to take responsibility for your own work and meet deadlines for your course.
- Explore the courses in your local area. Consider how far you would travel for a great opportunity.
- Use the options checklist to help you make a decision about which course or provider to choose. You should also think about:
- What subjects you want to study what providers offer the courses you are interested in
- If there a work placement as part of the course – and whether you have to find that yourself
- How far you need to travel to get to sixth form or college and how you will get there, and
- The facilities on offer which are important to you, for example, sports clubs, enrichment activities and extra support to help you with your studies.
- All colleges and sixth form colleges offer open days. These are a great opportunity to find out about the courses on offer and to talk to staff and students about the courses and the kind of support you can expect. It is also a chance to ask tutors questions about how courses are delivered and assessed to make sure they suit your needs.
- If you want to study A levels visit i-could – it has some really useful advice about which subjects to choose.
- Attend a careers fair or options event at your school to find out what is on offer in your local area.
- Find out if you can arrange some work experiencein the industries that interest you – gaining some experience will give you real insight into working life and you may gain a few contacts along the way!
- Complete an application form for each sixth form or college, ideally before the end of January in Year 11. Application forms are usually available on each sixth form or college website or you can ask your CareersInc adviser.
- Find out if there is a common application form in your area – this means you can use one form to apply to all colleges and sixth forms within the area. Speak to your tutor or CareersInc adviser for more information.
- Write a winning CV – you may not need one to apply but it will help you to write your application form.
- Prepare for a successful interview if you are asked to attend one. Make sure you take some examples of work from school or activities and hobbies outside school, which might be relevant to your course.
- Find out what colleges and sixth forms are in your area and what support and resources are available in your school or area to help you choose and apply for your course.