For some students, choosing their sixth form subjects is straightforward. Those wanting to be doctors, for example, are required to do Chemistry, Biology and Maths and so the decision is made for them. Others know Performing Arts is their great love and so the choice is easy.

However, what do you choose if you’re not sure what you want to do as a career? Or what if you do know that you want to be a Lawyer, for example, but don’t know what subjects you should take to do that?

I’m not sure what I want to do as a career

The good news is that for a lot of university courses it doesn’t matter what subjects you’ve done at A Level or Level 3 BTEC, they are just looking for the grades you achieved. Law is a good example of this. The University of Law requests that applicants have: “Three A-levels at grades BBB (or equivalent) plus GCSE English Language and Maths at grade C/grade 4 or above.

The same is true for things like Education and Business where they are just looking for experience and wide breadth of knowledge. Business at Level 3 might be recommended for a Business degree but is not usually mandatory.

Our advice in this instance would be to take subjects that you will do well in, that you enjoy, and that demonstrate a wide range of your skills. This will keep the most doors open to you in the future. To be blunt, usually it will be the grades you achieve rather than the subjects you choose that will limit you, so working hard will pay off!

Finally, if you change your mind about where your future is heading (i.e. you’ve done humanities subjects and then you decide you would like to go into nursing), you can take a Foundation year to prepare you for your degree. They offer Foundation courses in a huge range of subjects and you will be able to find one to suit you.

I know what I want to do as a career, how can I find out what Level 3 courses I need?

The first place you could look is a selection of university websites. Their course pages will state what the entry requirement is for that particular course. This may include specific subjects or just the grade profile they’re looking for. Either way, you should get a good idea of what sort of subjects would be useful, and what grades you need to be aiming for.

Alternatively, this website has a fantastic list of Level 3 subjects required for particular degree courses.

When you first apply to the College, you will be invited in for a Guidance Session where you will sit down with one of our experienced staff to discuss your career ambitions and your course choices. We will be here to make sure you do the right thing for you!

I want to go to a top Russell Group university

Russell Group universities are typically considered to be the best in the UK, although not all top universities are signed up to the Russell Group. If you wish to apply to the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Warwick, Liverpool, etc. (full list here), then you should consider taking at least two ‘facilitating subjects’ in order to give you the best possible chance of a place. These are:

  • Maths

  • Further maths

  • Physics

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • History

  • Geography

  • Modern and classical languages

  • English literature

More info about that here.

You may be well suited to our Honours Programme, which prepares students for the top-flight universities and degrees. Read more about it on our website.

I don’t want to go to university

There are lots of opportunities for students who don’t wish to go on to university. More and more employers are realising the value of employing and training ambitious sixth form leavers and they often successfully move up through the company without needing a degree.

Apprenticeship opportunities are also on the rise and these work like a full-time job. You will spend about 20% of your time training, you will receive a salary, and a nationally recognised qualification.

Starting your own business is also an option open to you, and we have many opportunities at St David’s to learn about how to do this. We might recommend taking Business or Economics if you wish to go on to pursue this.

In all of these instances, we would recommend taking subjects that you enjoy and will do well in while taking into consideration the field you may wish to go into.

Why do I have to take the Welsh Baccalaureate?

Welsh Bacc is an important qualification because it teaches you a lot of things not covered in your other subjects. For example, enterprise, employability, finance, budgeting, and lots more.

Crucially as well, it is now graded A-C and is equivalent to an A Level and has the associated UCAS points. It can therefore be used for entry into university and could be the difference between getting in or not!

What are my subject choices at St David’s?

St David’s offers over 50 courses in a wide range of subjects. Full course details can be seen on our website.

We offer a mixture of both A Level and BTEC courses in the following subjects:

  • Art & Design

  • Business

  • Computer Science & IT

  • Criminology

  • Economics

  • English

  • Film & Media

  • Geography

  • Government & Politics

  • Health & Social Care

  • History

  • Languages

  • Law

  • Maths

  • Medical Science

  • Music & Music Technology

  • PE & Sports Development, Coaching & Fitness

  • Performing Arts & Drama

  • Psychology

  • Religious Studies

  • The Sciences

  • Sociology

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