Deciding where you want to go for further education can be hard, but don’t worry, every student goes through this at some point.
While having to finish your GCSEs you also have to find a sixth form to go to, right? And before that you have to decide whether you wish to go to sixth form in a school or at a sixth form college.
It can be very stressful for some students and in this article I am going to talk about why I chose to go to a sixth form college, why I chose St David’s Catholic College, and why it was one of the best decisions of my life.
SCHOOL OR COLLEGE? THE BIG DECISION
If you’re thinking of going to university, a sixth form college is a great step towards the giant leap to university.
You are offered a level of independence which I feel isn’t offered at a sixth form in a school. The teachers treat you as adults and not children, and by having some free periods you are able make your own decisions about whether to revise or to socialise. This prepares you for university as it enables you learn to manage your time better and develop your independent learning skills.
I am also allowed to wear what I want and express my opinions too; I feel that St David’s has offered me the perfect balance of support and freedom.
"I feel that St David’s has offered me the perfect balance of support and freedom."
I feel that St David’s offers a number of facilities that schools do not: a large sports hall and gym for those interested in sports and fitness, a cinema for those interested in media studies and film, a fantastic LRC, an Honours Programme suite, and so much more!
There is also a variety of subjects on offer to suit any student. Not only does it teach the traditional subjects like English, Mathematics, History, etc., but also subjects such as Criminology, Psychology, Sociology, and many more. (Full list here.)
The College also offers a number of activities for their students, from basketball to chess club! There is always something for everyone.
St David’s has teachers that are completely specialised in their subjects, specifically at sixth form level. This means that they attend courses and lectures specifically for AS and A Level/Level 3 BTEC of their subjects and familiarise and expand their knowledge to this level, and they do not have to also deliver lessons to years 7, 8, 9, etc.
Finally, the College offers a lot of support with further education, and even have their own dedicated Destinations Manager. Alternatively, if you choose not to go to university, the College are very supportive and offer you a number of resources and support to help you if you wish to go into a job, an apprenticeship or take a gap year.
WHY ST DAVID'S?
As well as its excellent range of facilities and courses, the College welcomes and supports students of all different backgrounds and abilities. There is so much support with subject choices and general career advice before you even start; St David's makes sure that all of their students have the chance to succeed.
"St David's makes sure that all of their students have the chance to succeed."
The College offers safeguarding, exam support, financial support and even has a Learner Support Centre dedicated to helping and supporting learners both academically and with their wellbeing.
St David’s is very accessible and has lifts and wheelchair access around the buildings for those who require it. It is very diverse and has a place for everyone.
THE ENROLMENT PROCESS
St David’s has made the application/enrolment process easy. You can apply online via the website or if you would prefer a paper application form you can request one.
When I applied, I found it very easy and very quick and I received a lot of support from the College.
I was invited to a Guidance Session with a staff member. She was very friendly as she went through my application with me and discussed my future and my desired career path.
There was also a Taster Day where I was given my own personalised timetable with all of the subjects that I wished to take at AS. This gave me a chance to see what the College day was like, allowed me to get a taste of what the lessons consisted of, and allowed me to make sure I was going to enjoyed them.
After collecting my GCSE results I had another Guidance Session with the College to discuss my results and finalise my course choices. I feel that these Sessions were very useful and helped me to make decisions easily that I would have struggled with if I did not have the help and support of the College.
WHAT IF I CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT THE SUBJECTS I WANT TO DO?
As I want to become a pharmacist, I had planned to take Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology. However, after receiving my GCSE results I found I did not have the grades required for this. Rather than simply saying "no", the College recognised my determination and offered me an alternative solution, which involved an extra year at College to boost some of my GCSE grades to the required level. During this time I undertook GCSE Business and liked it so much I decided to change my career path. The College were very encouraging and supported me my whole way through.
So even if you are unsure about your subjects or change your mind as you go along, in my experience, the College will always do whatever they can to support you.
"The College will always do whatever they can to support you."
WHAT IF I DON'T GET THE GRADES I WANT?
As mentioned above, the College can offer you a personalised alternative to suit you best. The College also offers a number of GCSE resit options.
St David's is very flexible and offers you a lot of support. If you have any further questions regarding this issue, I recommend that you voice them in your Guidance Sessions. The teachers may have solutions you haven't thought of or didn't know about, and they will be able to put your worries to rest.
Remember, every student is facing this dilemma and you are not alone. I wish you all the best in your GCSEs and if it doesn’t work out, St David’s will do everything they can to help you find a solution.