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Please explain college to me

(12 Posts)
lookatmenow Mon 20-Mar-17 12:54:09

Some advice would be very appreciated.

DD is yr 10, were starting to think about college/sixth form.

I never went to college so have no idea how best to navigate this next stage in her life and advise when asked.

What i'm confursed with what is best for her, she wants to do something along the lines of media or performing arts (not sure what's best) - are these vocational courses, would she be best doing A level in this along with other subjects and if so, which????

She is also thinking after college she'll go to university so i'm not sure if she needs A levels the do a degree with in the course or if vocational would be best.

As i said, i have no idea, all input will be gladly received smile


TeenAndTween Mon 20-Mar-17 14:02:13

Deep breath. This is my understanding (my DD is in y13 doing a BTEC, we looked into A levels for her too).

First and foremost, how 'academic' is she? What kind of GCSE grades are you expecting, and will she definitely pass Maths & English (also depends on whether you view 4 or 5 as a pass).

Doing A levels broadly speaking keeps more options open. You can go to university with BTECs (vocational qualifications) but generally for vocational qualifications that build from the BTEC, or for lower ranking universities. This is because of the academic content of degrees, generally offers are for A level grades, even if theoretically BTECs qualify for 'UCAS points'.

Does she want to go to university because she views it as the 'done thing', or to deepen understanding of a subject, or for partying? You can look up potential courses online and see what their entrance requirements are.

What careers does she have in mind? Are they 'graduate level' or can she enter from lower than this. Sometimes 3 years real experience may be better than a degree.

Something like English, History & Media/Drama A levels would perhaps make a good combination, along side extra curricular involvement in a college website / paper or drama production. But only if she is academically up to it.

BTECs have more assignments, but even they now have exams.

She can apply to a number of colleges for a number of courses and keep her options open and decide when she sees how y11 is getting on, or even after results in Aug 2018. We found things became a lot clearer for DD from March y10 to March y11.

Hope this has been vaguely useful!

TeenAndTween Mon 20-Mar-17 14:04:52

ps If you pop over to Secondary Education and post the same question you may get more responses.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 20-Mar-17 14:12:15

In my understanding some colleges in PA do a level 6 BTEC at 16 for 3 years which for a few weeks more by doing an essay can be turned unto a degree.

Someone may be able to come along and clarify what I am on about.

PA has elements of academics in it but is mainly practical.

I would have recommended Move It if you didn't go this year you could try to go next year.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 20-Mar-17 14:14:56

Or try Notapushymum for PA.

I don't know where you are based but BRIT do both Media and Musical Theatre. I think their open evening is in September.

lookatmenow Tue 21-Mar-17 15:50:40

Teen i think you covered everything that i had in my head smile very helpful thankyou.

And oliversmum i'll go take a look at those websites - thanks

AlexanderHamilton Tue 21-Mar-17 15:55:55

Oliversmum - that's slightly incorrect. The Level 6 diploma that can be converted into a degree isn't a Btec its a Trinity Diploma.

The btecs are usually Level 3 & can lead into a variety of options, further study, vocational training, arts admin, performing arts teaching/workshop leader etc.

The Level 6 diploma is vocational training & offered to those who the colleges think have what it takes to be a professional performer. They are funded differently too.

LIZS Tue 21-Mar-17 15:56:57

They may offer Btec level 3 in Performing Arts which could be taken alongside one or two A levels keeping options open longer term. Alternatively you could look at vocational school/college options which would be by audition.

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 21-Mar-17 17:00:58

Oliversmum - that's slightly incorrect. The Level 6 diploma that can be converted into a degree isn't a Btec its a Trinity Diploma.

Yes knew it was something like that.

TheSecondOfHerName Tue 21-Mar-17 20:21:03

In our area, education after 16 tends to depend on GCSE results.

Students with 6+ A*-B grades at GCSE generally go to sixth form to do A-levels. A few go to the FE college to do a level 3 BTEC if they are certain about a particular career.

Students with 4+ C grades at GCSE (including Maths & English) generally go to the FE college to do level 3 BTEC courses.

Students with lower grades go to the FE college to do level 2 courses, including Maths/English.

DS1 had friends in all three categories, from several different secondary schools.

TeenAndTween Tue 21-Mar-17 20:44:11

The academic split described by TheSecond sounds about right to me too.

There are also apprentices to consider.

I think if you are on B&C grades for GCSE, then for A levels you would maybe expect C-E grades, so BTECs might be better.

However if talking creative subjects such as media, performing arts, art etc, then BTECs might be better anyway, I don't know much about that side of things.

BackforGood Tue 21-Mar-17 20:49:01

TeenandTween has nailed it in her first post.
I think thesecond is also right about approx. levels too.

There is, of course also the option of Apprenticeships - they, in themselves vary in the quality though. Some are excellent training schemes, others I'm afraid are just cheap labour.

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