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Articles > Student Life November, 25, 2016

4 Things To Think About When Choosing A 6th Form College

Naomi Veira
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So it’s almost time to start considering life after school. There’s a lot to think about, and you might feel completely lost for what to do. If you’re thinking about A-Levels though, here are some helpful tips for choosing a 6th form college, along with some advice on how to survive once you get there:

Choosing a 6th form college looking around college with parents

Pic by COD Newsroom

1) Friends

I speak from experience when I say that, although it feels like a really big deal, it’s easier to make friends when you’re on your own. When you’re still surrounded by your old crowd, it can be tempting to stay where you are. You change so much during sixth form, so it’s a good idea to know lots of other people. If you’re on your own, you have no choice but make friends! It’s great if you end up with friends, but don’t make your decision based on them.

2) Parents

Even if your parents have their hearts set on a particular place, it’s important to look around to make sure you choose best for yourself. Remember: it will be you who actually attends the college! It can be tricky if your parents are reluctant to let you choose, but try talking over it with them. Remind them that you’re more likely to work hard where you’re happy, and they may change their minds. At the same time, it’s also good to look at their choice; there’s no point discounting somewhere just to spite them! If they don’t let you choose, don’t give up on 6th form. No matter where you go, you‘re there to get those grades, so refusing to work will hurt you more than them!

3) Open Evenings

Open evenings give you a feel of the school, as well as a chance to ask questions about subjects. Often, there are students at open evenings who help out, and they are more likely to give you an honest picture of a subject than the teachers. But speak to the teachers too, because they can give you answers to all the important questions you might want to ask.

4) Other Things

Distance is quite a big factor to think about. As someone who has to rely on parents to get me to and from 6th form, I can say that my days are often a lot longer than high school days, because I don’t get picked up until late. However, if you have found the perfect place for you, don’t let distance be an issue: if you really want to go, there are ways around transport issues.

Reputation and resources are two other things which people always consider when choosing colleges. If you‘re committed to doing well though, then it doesn’t really matter about the quality. Just be prepared to work hard!

Once the process of choosing over, it’s all down to the waiting game. It seems like a lifetime away right now, but let’s fast forward to the first day of sixth form.  There are some things you need to know to get you off to a good start…


This is so important, I can’t stress this enough. A levels are really hard, so if you don’t enjoy your subjects, you will really struggle with the next 2 years!

2) Organisation

Once you’ve started, organisation is key. It’s a big jump up from GCSEs and you need to be much more independent. Start organising your work from the start of year 12. It’s a chore, but you’ll regret it if you get to exams and can’t read your notes.

3) Free Periods

Yes, free periods are exciting, but don’t spend all of them relaxing, or you’ll soon find yourself getting swamped with work. That’s not to say spend all your frees working, but it’s quite useful to get into the habit as soon as possible.

At the end of the day, it’s only for 2 years. Don’t worry too much about not choosing the right place, because time will fly. Try and pick somewhere that will work you hard but not make you break down under stress. Visit open evenings, try out the lessons and just choose somewhere where you feel comfortable.

Good luck!

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