What to do when

Autumn term (September-December)

  • Research what you want to do
  • Consider your interests, best subjects and potential exam grades
  • Discuss your options with your adviser, teachers and family
  • Visit your school or college careers library
  • Find out which courses are available and where by using the UCAS Progress website www.ucasprogress.com or local school/college prospectuses and websites
  • Check dates of open evenings at schools/colleges, or find out if there are any special events in your area. There is a list of open evenings on this website
  • Decide which sixth forms/colleges you are interested in and apply in the September of year 11. Remember that lots of courses fill up fast, so it’s best to get your application in early. You can apply for more than one school and college
  • Looking for work or an apprenticeship? Prepare your CV for work or training. Start to write to employers. Talk to your adviser about how to apply and deadlines
  • School/college and job application forms will ask for a reference, so decide who you would like to be your referee and ask their permission first.


Spring term (January-April)

If you haven’t applied for schools/colleges yet, you must apply this term

  • Interviews for further education (FE) colleges run from January until August. To make sure you are prepared, you will need to explain why you have applied for that particular college and course. Ask your adviser for help, if you need it
  • Start applying for apprenticeships and other work-based learning, if they interest you.
    Check www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship, this will give you information about the types of apprenticeships there are and you can search online for vacancies
  • Find out if you can apply for a 16-19 Bursary which offers funding support if you intend to stay in education or are considering work-based training. Schools, colleges and training providers are responsible for awarding bursaries to students.

Summer term (April-July)

  • Find out about bursaries, if you haven’t already
  • You will probably go on study leave in May – most exams take place in May and June
  • Keep in regular touch with your adviser, one stop shop or youth centre if you are looking for an apprenticeship or a job with training
  • If you are in year 11, the date that you finish full-time compulsory education is the last Friday in June. You can only legally start an apprenticeship or full-time or voluntary work with training after this date, even if you are 16 before or after that date.

Summer holidays

  • GCSE results come out in August. BTEC results are announced from July onwards. If your results are not what you expected and you have to reconsider your options, talk to your adviser or teacher and get some advice on your options.
  • If you have applied for college, there are likely to be enrolment sessions in late August – early September. Some colleges also have a few last minute spaces on courses during the enrolment period. However, at this stage, that may mean you might not get your first choice course.
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