Post 18 Options
Whether you’ve started in 6th form this term or are over half way through by being in year 13, it’s never too early, or late, to be thinking through what your options are after 6th form finishes. And the time will go a lot quicker than you think it will! So, have you already got a clear idea on what you want to do after year 13? Or are your ideas a bit less ‘clear cut’ than some of your friends? This blog is aimed at looking at the post 6th form or college options, to start giving you some thoughts. There are in fact quite a few different options open to you! Let’s take a quick look at some of them,
This is an obvious one. You will have heard this one talked about a quite considerably already, and seen the www.ucas.com site already! As you can imagine, there are a number of reasons why people go to university, including to get qualified for a career (e.g. Medicine, Engineering and Teaching), because of an interest in a particular subject (for instance English literature or French) or because they want to use their A level/IB studies to explore a new subject, for instance art history or sport science. The benefits of going including are that having a degree will open a wider range of careers, a chance to develop your independence and the evidence that suggests that going to university often increases your earning potential!
Doing an apprenticeship can be a really good way of getting into a specific career. In essence, it’s a job with training. So you are getting paid to learn! This learning can range from a level 2 (GCSE standard) up to level 7 (a post graduate/masters course). Depending on which apprenticeship you do will influence what level you start at. There are a huge range of apprenticeship areas you can get into, from finance, construction, surveying, horticulture/agriculture, nursing and IT! Increasingly, employers are offering apprenticeships to 6th form and college leavers, they aren’t just for year 11 leavers! https://amazingapprenticeships.com/ is a good place to start, to find out the range of opportunities. Lots of students will apply for apprenticeships after A levels, as it’s a great way to get degree level qualifications as well as getting paid experience, alongside doing their UCAS application.
For some A level students, going onto college will be a good next step. For instance art students will often go onto college to do an Art Foundation year, before going to university to do an art related degree. Some A level students decide during 6th form that they want to get a building trade, catering or admin qualification, these will all be options at local colleges. Or students may want to resit qualifications or take a new one, e.g. a BTEC, so that they can change direction before going to university! The benefits of going to college are that it is usually more of a relaxed and adult environment. There are a huge range of qualifications offered – as you can see from the range of examples above.
There will always be some 6th formers who have had enough of education and just want to get a job. University doesn’t appeal to everyone! Perhaps there is a family business to work in or that holiday job can be turned into a full time job? Or perhaps there isn’t anything at university that really grabs the attention. Getting a job after A levels can be a good way to find out what you do want to do, just as importantly, what you don’t want to do. The option of going to university will still be available in the future. In fact, university admissions staff recognise that applicants applying after having gone to work after 6th form will bring lots of skills and experience to the degree.
How would you like to structure a gap year? Its really worth giving this some thought, to make sure you get the most out of the time. You will actually have 14-15 months to use, if you want to, from the end of your exams to mid/late September the following year. Lets take a look at what some of the various options could be for using this time.
Travel – this is often the first thing that people think about. There are several questions here to think through. Where in the world would you like to go? How long for? Do you want to ‘skim the surface’ and visit lots of places or go to say 1 or 2 and really get to know these better? Would you prefer to earn money as you travel? This may help answer the previous question – there are so many ways you can earn as you travel, for instance as a TEFL teacher, sports instructor, tractor driver or bar work. This would often mean you get to know fewer places but far better. Would your future career or university application benefit from doing some volunteering abroad? For instance if you are applying for an education degree, some medical related courses or environmental/conservation degrees, getting some experience during a gap year could be invaluable!
Work experience – see above! This could be anywhere in the world. Often though, people will stay at home to get this for various reasons. It can be combined with a job you may already have and being able to stay at home rent free does mean you will be able to save up more whilst developing your work experience. Students doing this will often ‘top and tail’ this experience with some travelling, or having a summer of going to lots of festivals – just so that the time isn’t all spent working and volunteering!
Earning money For some students this can be really important, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are in a national squad, without sponsorship and earning whilst training will give them a really good shot at seeing how good they are. Or there may be specific reasons why earning some money before going to university needs to happen, for instance to pay for driving lessons, a car, to be able to rent a nicer flat whilst at university! Want more information? https://www.ucas.com/alternatives/gap-year/gap-years-ideas-and-things-think-about will be useful to have a look at also. You will probably have many options with University, College & more to choose from, take your time and remember we’re here to help.
Here at My Uni Choices we specialise in helping students, parents & educators make the best 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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