We need to make sure students are well informed about their options post 16

We need to make sure students are well informed about their options post 16

Apprenticeships Careers Narrowing the gap Post 16 University Volunteer mentors What's new? Work experience Young people

Post 16 options

Every young person is required to be in some form of education or training from the ages of 16-18. These years can be an incredibly exciting period, as young people for the first time are in full control over what subjects and qualifications they take. It is an opportunity to begin specialising in certain areas/subjects and to truly begin down the road to independence and adulthood. We at GT Scholars think it essential for all students to know the options that are available to them post 16, so we’ve made a list to help young people make the right choice for themselves. There is most certainly something for everyone.

A levels –

A levels are the next step for many young people post 16. They are subject-based qualifications, taken at school or college, that open up a variety of options later on. Universities and employers hold A level qualifications in high regard. They are a particularly good stepping stone towards university, as they offer a bridge between the teaching styles of schools and universities. A levels are a great academic challenge and give students the chance to further enhance their knowledge of familiar subjects such as English, Maths, History etc, or perhaps to delve into subjects that they may not have come across at school, such as Psychology or Politics.

Vocational Courses –

Another college-based post 16 option are vocational courses. They are different from A levels in that they typically are more hands-on, practical qualifications. They are specialist qualifications which focus on specific subject and employment areas, a few examples from the long list being business, social care and hairdressing . Vocational courses can help students gain employment skills and also provide a path towards a variety of university courses. They are a respected and well-established option post 16.

Apprenticeships –

Apprenticeships are gaining popularity in the UK, as more and more young people are recognising their value as a legitimate alternative to A-Levels. They offer something very different; practical, hands-on experience in a workplace. The skills you gain through apprenticeships are mostly job-specific and offer a fantastic route towards eventual full-time employment in your industry of choice. As an apprentice you can gain qualifications whilst working and earning money. The scope of apprenticeships has widened in recent years, with roles now available in a wide variety of sectors from engineering to IT to business. The modern apprenticeship is a challenging, rewarding and dynamic post 16 option.

Below are a list of links with further information to help you make the right choice for you-


7 things to think about when choosing a university

7 things to think about when choosing a university


University can be one of life’s most exciting and rewarding times. But before you get there, choosing the right university is challenging.

I went through the application process a few years ago and understood how tough and stressful it can be. So here are some tips to help the aspiring university student make the right decision

1. Take your time:

Choosing the right university is essential. Remember you will be studying there for, most likely, three years. Don’t leave the process to the last minute. Deciding where you want to learn can be challenging, so give yourself time to think it over. It may be worth considering this as early as Year 9 or 10. Click here to read a blog about achieving your goals by starting with the end in mind.

2. Look at University league tables:

League tables can be a good indicator of a university’s overall rating, reputation, and quality of any course. Several respected league tables, such as The Complete University Guide, the Guardian University Guide and The Times Good University Guide, are published yearly. Also, note that different universities excel at other subjects, so research the reputation of your potential universities regarding your chosen topic.

3. Do your research!

Make sure you research your potential universities thoroughly. Their websites usually contain a lot of detail about the institution and its history and values. You can also read their prospectus online or order one to arrive by post. Some universities will require that you apply earlier than the usual deadline; others operate a collegiate system and expect you to choose a college when using. Some of them hope you take an additional entrance exam before being accepted. Remember that the more you know, the more confident you will be that you are making the right choice. Get more tips from a recent graduate by reading our blog here

4. Attend University open days.

Visiting a university is the only way to get an authentic feel for what life will be like there. Campus, make sure you attend a handful of open days so that you have some comparisons. On a breezy day, you meet and talk to staff and students and tour the campus. Statistics and league tables tell us something, but the first-hand visit experience will help paint a more detailed picture of what it has to offer. The day I stepped onto the University of Kent campus was when I knew where I wanted to study and spend the next three years of my life.

5. University Lifestyle & location:

Don’t forget to think about location when choosing a university. Ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want outside of your studies. Some may favour living in a big city with vibrant and varied nightlife. Others may prefer a low-key, relaxed environment. You may also want to consider how far away from home you are prepared to live. Some students choose to live at home with their family while studying, others want to live within a short distance from home, and others are pretty happy to move further away.

6. Societies, Sports & Extracurricular activities:

There are usually hundreds of societies in each university, and some universities have world-renowned facilities to support these activities, e.g. Sports at Loughborough University. You won’t be spending all your time studying, so if you enjoy an activity and want to continue at university, it may be worth looking into the school that will support you with this. Suppose you don’t have an extracurricular that you are particularly interested in. In that case, it may be worth looking at the university’s list of societies to consider the activities you want to participate in in your free time.

7. What else is on offer:

Some universities have good exchange programmes where you can study abroad as part of your course. Some schools have an excellent career fair and a career centre to support you with getting internships and finding a graduate job. Others have suitable bursaries, which could reduce the cost of your course. Others allow you to take credits as part of your degree so you can study Biology and take some credits in Music (if that’s what you’re looking for!). Wherever you choose to study, make sure that you look into any other added benefits, as this will help with your decision-making.

We hope this is helpful to anyone that’s thinking about furthering their education in the next couple of years. For more hints and tips on universities and careers, visit the GT Scholars blog at www.gtscholars.org/blog


Choosing a university course? 5 tips from a recent graduate to help you make the right choice

Choosing a university course? 5 tips from a recent graduate to help you make the right choice


So you’ve been working hard preparing for university, you’re pretty sure you’ll get the grades, and maybe you even know which university you’ll go to… but there’s a huge decision you need to make. Which university course will you study?

According to UCAS, there are 37,000 undergraduate courses at over 370 universities across the UK. Many factors need to be taken into consideration when deciding the course that is right for you. We’ve listed five things to consider when choosing your future degree course.

1. Choose something you are passionate about

This tip may seem obvious, but I can’t stress this enough. Remember that you’ll spend at least three years studying your chosen subject. If you aren’t passionate about your topic, you’ll likely find it harder to motivate yourself and won’t enjoy the experience. A mixture of passion for your issue and hard work will stand you in great stead for your time at university.

2. Look at the course content

It’s essential to research the specific details of your course. You may find that one university has modules in your subject that interest you far more than the modules in the same subject at another university. Be sure to look at the second and third-year modules, as well as the first year, as this will give a good indication of the direction of your course.

3. Check league tables & specialities

League tables can be a good indicator of any course’s quality. Several respected league tables are published every year, such as Also, note that different universities excel at other subjects, so make sure you research the reputation of your potential universities regarding your chosen topic. Read more about league tables and other tips about choosing a university in our blog here. 

4. Think about your career direction

  It may seem a little early to think about career decisions but keep in mind the paths your course opens up for you. It is an obvious point, but some professions need people with degrees in specific subjects, so if you know what you want to do later in life, you may want to tailor your qualification to that profession. If you are not sure what you want to do in later life, don’t panic. A degree opens up many more paths than it closes, and you are not limited to working in a career directly related to your degree.   

5. Look into degrees that offer something unique:

Many degrees in the UK offer unique opportunities, such as sandwich placements, where you spend a year working in a company, usually between your second and third years. Other degrees offer add-on credits so you can graduate with a double degree or a degree plus a language. Another popular choice is a degree with the opportunity to study abroad for a year. This can be an excellent opportunity to meet new travel the world, meet new people and complete your degree simultaneously.

We hope this gives you a good idea of how to start your search for a degree course. For more hints and tips on universities and careers, visit the GT Scholars blog at www.gtscholars.org/blog