Myth busters about 16+ education
Myth busters about post 16 decisions!
1. Going to an FE college is just like being at school
No it's not!
- You don't have to be at the college - you have chosen to go there
- The college environment is different to school ... no bells, uniforms, fixed breaks or lesson periods ... though you will still have a timetable. There may also be lots of adults doing courses at the college
- Some colleges in Cambridgeshire do not offer A Level courses. Most of their courses may be of the vocational, 'hands on' type ... without exams but with 'assessments' as you progress through your course. You usually just take one course
- You may be at the college for only 3 or 4 days each week ...many of the full-time courses may be just 16 hours per week attendance at the college
- So ...you may have more freedom but you may have to take on more responsibility for your own learning and progress. This means that you may have to behave in a more mature/adult way. If you don't behave in a reasonable way and do not do the required work then you could be asked to leave!
2. Going to a big college is scary
- Yes it can be ...especially if you have been used to going to a smallish school where you are known by your teachers and lots of other pupils! However 'Student Services' and subject tutors at the college will provide you with lots of support and activities when you start. This will help you to settle in and get to know other new students. You will quickly feel more at home and comfortable about going to college
- You will usually also be allocated a personal tutor who will support you, assist in sorting out any difficulties and generally help you to progress whilst at the college
3. I'm not applying to college because I want a job/apprenticeship
- In some parts of Cambridgeshire it's currently really tough for school leavers who want a job or a local apprenticeship
- As a 'back-up' plan it is advisable to make applications for full-time college or school courses. By doing so you should then have the option of a place on a course in September. You do not have to do the course if you then get a job or an apprenticeship!
- You can also keep looking for opportunities whilst you are on the course. You do not have to stay at the school or college if you subsequently obtain a job or apprenticeship whilst on your course.
4. I have applied for an apprenticeship at college so I'm sorted
- You still need to find an employer! The college may suggest some employers but you should search for apprenticeship vacancies using the National Apprenticeship site and any other possible sources of vacancies
5. College is just for 'brainy' people
- There are lots of courses available for all levels of ability. This means that you can apply for a course whether or not you have no qualifications or a clutch of GCSE A* grades!
6. If I don't get a job during the summer- then I'll make an application to college
- Not a great idea ... by then the course you want may be full-up. You may then have to wait for another year to get on a course!
7. I was told on my Year 10 work experience placement to contact the firm when I left school because they said that they will give me a job
- That is really encouraging! However circumstances with employers can and do change. That 'promised job' may not be available for you a year after completing your work experience. So you need to make sure that you also apply for other options.
8. I'm going on the dole/job seekers allowance when I leave School
- Not possible at 16 or 17 year of age! Job seekers allowance (JSA) usually starts when you are 18 years old. If you stay in learning after Year 11 then your parents/carers will continue to receive child benefit payments for you!
9. I'll take a gap year after Year 11 and then maybe apply to college
- Dropping out of education at 16 and then going back in at 17 is not advisable. You may get out of the habit of being in education and you may have to pay college course fees after the age of 18! Taking a gap year after year 13 may be a more preferable option!
10. BTEC qualifications are not regarded as highly as A levels by the universities.
- Some 'academic' courses at some of the more well established universities may well prefer A levels. However there are plenty of degree courses that will accept, or may even prefer BTEC qualifications. If in doubt contact the University