MAKING CHOICES FOR THE FUTURE
Making choices about your future is never easy and it becomes even more difficult when the range of subjects and types of qualification is so large. It is a good idea to take advice from lots of people on your future – your mentor, teachers, your family, the Connexions service and your friends. Think carefully about what they say and whether their advice makes sense to you.
If you have doubts that it makes sense to continue studying after Year 11, consider the following:
§ Staying on at school improves your chances of getting good qualifications
§ The better your qualifications, the more employment or university/college options you have. Getting Level 3 qualifications is the best way of getting into university or college. On average, people in the
§ Sixth Form study is enjoyable because the range of courses available means that you are studying the courses that you want to study
The following guidelines might seem obvious but they are worth keeping in mind as you decide which subjects to take.
What do you enjoy?
Obviously you will consider the subjects that you have enjoyed at GCSE but also consider what it is about these subjects that you have enjoyed and whether a new subject would give you the chance to develop this further. For example, do you enjoy debate and discussion? Do you enjoy creating new things? Do you enjoy finding out how the world works? Several courses will suit people who like each of these types of study. Try not to base your choice on what your friends are doing (you are unique, aren’t you?) and on whether you like or dislike a particular teacher – you will find that relationships between students and teachers at Sixth Form are more relaxed than in the younger years.
What are you good at?
You probably already have a fair idea about this based on marks in your GCSE tests and mock exams. If these have not gone well, don’t despair – students often find that their results in the final exam are an improvement on their mock exam scores because they have had more practice by that stage and have made improvements in the areas that need them. If you are not sure whether you are good at a subject, ask your teacher!
What do you need for your future study or work?
Some courses at universities and colleges have specific requirements for the A-levels that you need; for example, Medicine and Architecture. Most, however, are simply interested in the grades you achieve and in your other skills and potential for further study. For more detailed information on this, see the UCAS web site www.ucas.com or talk to your Connexions advisor.
Queen Elizabeth’s, in common with most school Sixth Forms, expects students doing Level 3 qualifications to take four AS levels / BTEC Level 3 courses in Year 12, carrying on with three or four of these to the full A level / BTEC National in Year 13. The Extended Project qualification is available to Year 13 students. This is increasingly being seen as an attractive qualification by universities.
Students enrolling on the one year Bridging Course are expected to study all parts of this programme and complete a Work Experience placement for a day per week.
What will you do in addition to your programme of study?
Sixth Form at Queen Elizabeth’s provides some excellent opportunities to pursue your interests outside lessons and develop new interests. These are not just a good way of relaxing from study; they also help you to develop the skills and attitudes that universities and employers want to see in people who apply to study or work with them. Think carefully from an early stage what you are going to do in your ‘frees’. Most courses and employers will want to see that you have skills in, for example, communication, ICT, solving problems and working with others.
Last updated: 28 November 2011