14 July 2021

Finishing school or college?

By Melina Joannides, Digital Assistant and Kickstarter 

Class of 2021: I wonder how many times you’ve heard the following questions:

“What sixth form, college or university are you going to?”
“What are you going to do now?”
“What are your plans for your future?”

Some of you may know exactly where you are heading next, which is great! 

However, some of you may still be figuring it all out which is perfectly normal. It can all be incredibly overwhelming, I’ve been there. The most important thing to remember, is to do what feels right for you

What do I mean by this?

It can be easy to be swayed by those around you. Perhaps of all your close friends are heading to the same college, sixth form or university. It can be tempting to simply follow in their path – but is that the right path for you?

When I was at secondary school, the message seemed to be that continuing education at sixth form or university was preferable and this led many students, including myself, believing that sixth form or university was a necessity to succeed in life. Yet, I discovered that this is not the case. There are numerous avenues. 

What options are there? 

  • Internships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Gap Year
  • Employment
  • College 
  • Sixth Form
  • Start your own business 
  • University 

And more….

For example, Future First alumni volunteer, Abbie decided to complete an apprenticeship: 

 “You may be surprised to know that I will qualify as a Chartered Accountant before a graduate from university. In addition, I would also have an extra three years’ worth of work experience”. 

There is often a misconception about students who do not attend University, Sixth form or College. Abbie is one of the many examples who combat this misconception!

University, College or Sixth form isn’t for everyone. Perhaps you’re interested in pursuing something else in the list above. If so, utilise the internet and do lots of research to learn about your endless options and where they can take you. 

Who can tell me more, where can I look?

Just a few suggestions:

  • Prince’s Trust – Gain experience, skills, training and the confidence to help you into work with the Prince’s Trust, or take that idea you’ve been dreaming of and, with Prince’s Trust Enterprise training, mentoring and funding, become your own boss.
  • Not Going To Uni – Showcases the alternatives to the standard university route to school and college leavers.
  • Career Ready – Building networks with employers, educators, and volunteers across the UK to give young people the career support, experiences, and insights they need to kickstart their futures.
  • Avado / FastFutures – In just 12 weeks you’ll learn the practical skills that employers really need, build your network, and increase your confidence through 1-2-1 mentoring.

View related content:

Sign up to your schools’ leavers’ network
The benefits of volunteering with Future First: what’s in it for me?