There are plenty of things to keep you distracted while at Sixth Form – from your studies to spending time with friends. So, when it comes to trying to suddenly decide what you want to do next, it can all come as a bit of a surprise. Like, how are you supposed to know what you want to do for the rest of your life? So far your course through education has probably been set out for you – from primary to secondary school and on to your A levels via GCSE. You have most-likely not had to think about ‘what next’ – but now you’re expected to know what you want to do?
First up – don’t panic! You may feel that this is the most important decision of your life, but it isn’t a final choice. For example, plenty of people changed their minds about going to university or not – either deciding to go later on in life or even dropping out and doing something else after finding it just wasn’t for them.
Of course, you want to get it right if you can, so doing some research into your choices is always going to help with making the right choice for you. Try to ignore what your friends are doing (at least just for a moment) and focus on what you want. Of course, asking advice and talking to your friends can help, but ultimately it is a matter of what is best for you.
So, what are your choices?
University is a common choice for those leaving Sixth Form, and in many ways that makes perfect sense. In a way it is a continuation of the academic path you have been taking since you first went to school. You can specialise your learning while also getting some new-found freedom by moving away from home. However, on the downside, there is the expense as well as the concerns over how many graduates fail to land a graduate-level job after university – leaving them in an overcrowded job market with few skills to help them stand out.
An apprenticeship offers an alternative path into employment. Sure, it hasn’t got the academic edge of going to university, but an apprenticeship should leave you more prepared for the workplace – which is the final destination anyway! Instead of studying at uni, and apprenticeship will teach you a skill or trade, while offering on-the-job experience and a pay-packet. There are a surprisingly wide range of apprenticeships available to search now in a variety of job sectors. As an option, it has to be at least worth a look!
- Get A Job
Heading straight out into the workplace is another option with many companies offering roles for school and college-leavers. Many of these jobs are designed to get you trained and allow you to progress up the career ladder. Of course, the benefits are clear – you will start earning a wage right away too!
- Gap Year
A Gap Year is another option for those who wish to take some time out and get away for a new experience. Great for improving your C.V. or university application, a Gap Year can be a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Some can be expensive, but many students get around this by spending some of their year out working to raise some funds (plus getting some more experience) before heading out.
- Other Options
While many careers advisors tend to stop here, there are plenty of other options available too – from looking at distance learning to taking a sponsored degree (you get your fees paid!), or heading off to college for more study while working part-time. There are plenty of options available for you after A level – so why not have a look around and see what suits you most?