See the bigger picture
Column by Jaz Abeysekera, marketing manager at Grantham College
Choosing a college or sixth form isn’t just about enrolling on to a course with good pass rates and valuable work experience.
Whilst getting good grades is important, there’s much more to further education than exams and coursework.
Whether you’re looking at moving on from high school to college or you’re the parent or guardian of a student who is looking into post-GCSE options, there are lots of other things to consider when exploring the options that are available.
Look at the student experience as a whole and ask lots of questions at open events. Finding out about opportunities outside of the classroom is really important; from clubs and societies to student voice forums and representing your class to raise any issues or ideas you have.
Exploring opportunities for trips and work experience is always a good idea. Having taken part in work experience or valuable trips to enhance your CV which in turn, improve job prospects following on from your time in education. Schemes such as Erasmus are fully worthwhile looking into; it entails work experience abroad with all expenses paid. Getting the opportunity to work abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity and enjoying the cultural side of things whilst there makes it even more beneficial.
Learning and student support is something that’s good to look into even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Knowing that there is someone nearby to help you if you’re having troubles on your course or if you just want someone to talk to, having researched this before starting at a new school or college, you’ll know where to go if you or a friend are ever in need. Doing your research on this area if you, a friend or a relative are in need of help for learning difficulties or disabilities may also help you make the ultimate decision on whether or not that provision is the right place to study.
Finally, always look into careers advice. Whilst you may not need it immediately, you may want some guidance upon finishing your course, whether it be for higher education options or entering the world of work. A good careers advisor will help with applications, they will advise you of what work sector or higher education options would suit you, they will help with interview preparation and will be able to inform you of good links with local businesses which may be able to offer work experience.