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Articles > Student Life November, 25, 2016

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

November, 25, 2016

Naomi Veira Youth Panel member. Member since May 2016.
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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…

1) DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

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.

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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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  1. Elisabetta
    April 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I think that you are right. if you dont like a course will be very hard, but sometimes even if you love something it will still be hard

  2. NAGRAJ WAGALGAVE
    January 16, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I think periods are most important in college life. We have to attend lectures and concentrate and take notes and free periods allow you time to get all your notes together and make precise revision notes in time for the exams. Free periods are good for organisation and making time tables

  3. mugenyi
    January 6, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    please my friend, when youre filling in the form for your college, think about what you want to be in life and what you want to do after school. don’t let your friends decide for you what to learn and what will give you a bright future. Concentrate on the books.

  4. rashmi kumari
    December 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I think this is a very good article … School experience and school life is most important to learn about life

  5. Chi
    November 26, 2016 at 12:29 am

    I think that this was a good article and I completely agree with you! However, could you talk about your process into six form and how you applied?

    • Naomi Veira
      November 28, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you! Okay, so there are normally application forms that you can pick up at the 6th form open evenings, or if not you can probably find them to print off from the 6th form website. These are quite easy to fill in, just some personal details and then your subject choices. The application then goes off in the post, and you should get a letter in reply. Some 6th forms might offer you a place there and then, some might ask for an interview, and some might give you a place depending on your GCSE grades; it really depends on where you are applying. You don’t have to make a decision until next summer though. Most 6th forms have open days around July ish, where you can experience what lessons etc would be like. Then there is often an enrollment day after results day where you go to your 6th form and sign up. I hope this helps!

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