April 20

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Which is Right for You? Choosing Between College and Sixth Form

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
yourself. 

Benefits of college and sixth form

Is it better to go to Sixth Form or
College?

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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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
be. 

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. 

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Does it matter which Sixth Form you
go to?

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. 

Conclusion

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.

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