Alternatives to University

Our last 2 blogs have been aimed at year 12 students who are starting to research university options. And while there are so many good opportunities at university, it certainly isn’t the only option available to you! In fact, increasingly, year 13 students are applying for options like degree apprenticeships as an alternative. This blog will look at the alternatives to university that you can consider. It is definitely worth exploring these in more detail – even if this convinces you that in fact university is worth another look.

Gap year

After the last couple of years, the chance to take a year out might be very appealing. There are a variety of ways that the time could be used. You will in fact have from early July to the following late September. Here are some ideas –

Travel – are there parts of the world you’d like to visit? Do you want to go as a tourist? For instance by getting a train ticket to take you round Europe. Or do you want to go somewhere to volunteer or work? If you are going to do this, you will need to think through about what skills that you want to use. For instance by learning how to scuba dive, drive a tractor, do bat surveys or woodwork skills, you will open up paid or volunteer work.  

Gain work experience – you may know what you want to do at university, and that your chances of being successful will be much with some work experience. This could be anything from medical related, hospitality management or event planning.

If you want to find out more about gap years, this UCAS article is useful –

Apprenticeships/degree apprenticeships

You’ve probably heard these mentioned. Just in case you don’t know what they are, they are a paid job that has training as part of it. They aren’t just for construction trades either! There are a variety of different jobs that offer apprenticeships, including solicitors, engineering, allied health professionals (e.g. nurses, physios etc), finance roles and artificial intelligence. Even architecture will have an apprenticeship route before long. The benefits of getting an apprenticeship is that you get paid while you train, you get real experience of the work place and your employer will pay for your training – even if it’s a degree. Would you like to know more? will give you a good insight into degree apprenticeships. And if you want to look at some of the actual opportunities, these two sites will give you a great flavour of what is available, and


The other option that is available is just to get a job. Perhaps you’ve got a part time job already, where you could increase your hours once 6th form/college is over. This will give you some money and time to think through what you want to do next. You will be earning a living for a very long time, so taking some time to give this thought could be good, as long as you don’t get stuck in a rut! Some people will use this time working to develop an ability, to see if it takes off. For instance by going for auditions or to give a business idea they’ve got time to develop. This option doesn’t mean you are giving up on the other options – future employers and university admissions staff will be interested to hear what you learnt about yourself, the experiences and skills you developed during the time. So even if you spent the time supporting yourself while going for auditions, which didn’t turn you into a successful actor, you will have learnt a huge amount giving it a try.

We hope that reading this blog has given you some alternatives to university ideas to consider. Why not talk to your tutor or careers adviser about what you could do next? The students that have really successful transitions after year 13 are those that start planning early. By exploring the options now, you are giving yourself the best possible start to finding ‘that’ perfect next step for you!

Here at My Uni Choices we specialise in helping students, parents & educators make the best uni choices. Review all the Universities & Courses here or discover more About Us & the best uni courses for you, finally if you’re ready let’s take The Test to find out what course or degree you should do.

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