After finishing your GCSEs you will have to
decide what you want to study next and where
you want to study it. Chances are, you will be making the tough
choice of choosing between college and sixth form.
Whether you are considering a further education college or a private
sixth form, this blog post is here to help explain
the benefits of both and what you should consider when making the choice for
Benefits of college and sixth form
Is it better to go to Sixth Form or
When choosing between college and sixth form it
is important to remember: college is not
better than sixth form and sixth form is not better than college. Both
offer different experiences and
opportunities that play to different students’ strengths and weaknesses.
So, when choosing between college and
sixth form, do not ask which one is better, ask which one is right for you.
The Benefits of FE College &
Small Paragraph on Apprenticeships
There are two kinds of colleges: further
education colleges and sixth form colleges. FE
Colleges can be bigger with a
wider choice of subjects to study, and generally take
a more informal approach to education,
not requiring you to wear a uniform, letting you choose how to spend your time outside of the classroom
and not having teachers watching over you.
This can help you develop soft skills such as self-discipline and
independence that will come in handy at
university or at work.
Colleges also provide access
to apprenticeships and vocational training courses. Apprenticeships enable you
to learn and earn at the same time from the age of 16 onwards. In England they come in four categories:
intermediate, advanced, higher, and degree.
Scotland and Wales have similar but slightly different systems.
Apprenticeships take between 1 and 3
years to complete and train you for a specific role so it is important that
you know as much as possible about what
career progression is available to you once your apprenticeship is completed. If it is
important that you start earning as soon as possible but want to continue your education,
apprenticeships are a good option.
The Benefits of Sixth Form
Sixth forms on the other hand offer a
narrower choice of subjects to study but include alternative qualifications such as BTEC
diplomas. Public and private sixth form are more relaxed than
normal school but more intense than FE college, the teaching is more
rigorous, students are monitored more
closely by teachers and have more contact time with their classmates through having a more structured
schedule outside the classroom. If your school
already has a sixth form then you know the teachers, the campus, and
your friends already. Familiarity is an
important source of confidence while learning and can aid personal development. If you respond well to a more
structured environment and want to focus on
academics and university, then moving from the public sector to a more
academically rigorous private
sixth form could be a good choice.
Sixth Form Colleges
If you are finding it
difficult choosing between college and sixth form, sixth form colleges are a halfway house that could be worth
considering. They lack the more intense organisation of a sixth form in a school but not being as
hands off as an FE college either. When choosing between college and sixth form, sixth form
colleges could offer you a good compromise
between personal autonomy and breadth of learning.
What students should consider when making the choice for
How do I Choose a Sixth Form College?
When choosing between college
and sixth form it is vital to do your research properly and visit the campus of the college you are
interested in yourself if possible. The best way to do this is to attend an open day, call the
college and organise a tour for yourself and to
thoroughly research what courses the colleges offer online to make sure
you do not waste time and effort
visiting a college that does not offer the subjects you are interested in.
Is college easier than Sixth Form?
College is neither easier nor
harder than sixth form. As we already know college
puts the responsibility for the bulk of
your learning onto you but usually does have educational support facilities available to those who
need and ask for them. In this sense the more
initiative and maturity you demonstrate, the easier college will
As sixth form is more strictly organised and
monitored than college it might actually end up
being harder for you if you work more effectively with more freedom but
is certainly easier than college in
terms of taking the admin off your to do list when studying.
Does it matter which Sixth Form you
Yes. It is important choosing between college
and sixth form to pick a sixth form that offers
the subjects that you want to learn and will teach you well enough to
get the grades you want. Do your
research and remember to look up the previous exam results of your chosen school or college from previous academic
years to get an idea of how effective the teaching there is and whether they offer the
qualifications you need in the subjects that you want to study.
Taking everything into account, when deciding whether college or sixth form is right for you; if it is important that you start learning as soon as possible but want to continue your education, apprenticeships at an FE college are a good choice. If you want a more university style experience and you want to meet new people, then sixth form college might be the route to go. Finally, if you respond well to a more structured environment and want to focus on academics and university, either a public or private sixth form would suit you best.