Choosing the right college course for you (Blog)

Choosing what courses to study at college can be tough, especially when there’s so many on offer, so here are some tips and advice to help make this decision seem less daunting.

Look at all of your options

Even though the list can look overwhelming, make sure you look at all that’s on offer. Disregard the courses that you’re definitely not interested in and then look at the ones that initially attract your attention in more detail in the Callywith prospectus and at www.callywith.ac.uk. Consider whether you want to do either A Levels in four different subjects, which is a great route if you want to keep your options open, or specialise in a Diploma (equivalent to 3 A Levels) if you are set on a particular field of interest or have a career in mind for the future.

Choose subjects you’ll enjoy

If you’re completely stuck for ideas on which courses to pick, then think back to the subjects you enjoyed at school. Exploring your favourite school subject further at college could make you love it even more and open up a path for your future when it comes to your career. However, still remember to look at the specifics of the course as it may be slightly different from the GCSE subjects you’re used to.

Do your research

Research is key when choosing your courses. Read the prospectus and course content on the Callywith website and attend Open Events to talk to the staff teaching the subjects to get all the information on offer. Don’t just pick the course based on the name; look in detail at what you’ll be studying. Also find out the type of assessments that are involved, whether it’s all exams, all coursework, or a mixture of both and determine whether this suits you or not.

Think about your future

If you’re thinking about university and have a degree in mind already, then take a look at the entry requirements or pick a subject that is likely to help you get on to the course - some degree courses require specific subjects to be studied, visit www.ucas.ac.uk to check. A potential career goal could also lead you to pick subjects relating to that job you have in mind. Any available work experience that you can get involved with alongside your studies will help determine if the career is something you really want to pursue.

Look at entry requirements

When choosing your courses, make sure you take a look at the entry requirements for the A Levels or Diploma you are thinking of choosing. In the Callywith prospectus, the ‘Options Explained’ section on pages 16-17, will give you more information on this.

Your A Level choices don’t have to be similar

If you’ve decided to go down the route of A Levels, they don’t have to be linked to each other. If you want to study a combination of Maths, English, Art and French then go for it. In fact, some universities prefer a mixed range of A Levels when it comes to entry requirements for degrees. This will also keep your options open for your future if you are undecided. However, if you do have a particular degree or career in mind, then choosing similar subjects, all science related for example, or studying a specific Diploma, is not a problem either. Most combinations are possible.

Don’t just choose what your friends are doing

If your best friend is a keen mathematician but the thought of simultaneous equations sends your mind spinning, don’t choose a Maths A Level just because your friend is doing it. You’re choosing for your own personal benefit. Going into a new classroom not knowing anyone might be daunting, but just remember that others are in the same boat as you. You’ll make new friends on your course and can always meet up with your old friends at lunch time.

Write a list

Once you’ve had a think about all of your options, write them down in a list so they are easier to weigh up. Organising your thoughts on paper will most likely make a lot more sense and you can always come back later to reflect.

What if I don’t like the course I’ve picked?

Don’t panic if you start the course in September and think you’ve made the wrong decision. Talk to your teacher and you may be able to change your options if you let them know early enough. They are always going to have your best interests in mind and will encourage you to do what you think is best for you. Just remember to speak up.

Get more advice

If you’re still struggling to decide, organise a meeting with the careers advisor at your school for more help, or visit the College on an Open Day to talk to subject staff. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your options at your admissions interview to help you decide on your course choices.