Thinking about options after GCSEs or Nationals? Find ideas to help you start your job or career plan.

How do I choose what to do next?

It’s important to think about what is right for you when making decisions about your future. There are a number of things you should look at when choosing what to do.  

Below are some things to think about. 

Subjects you like

  1. Do you enjoy, or are you good at certain subjects? Have you considered taking these further? 
  2. Do you have hobbies or interests you could study?
  3. Do you need any particular grades to get on to courses you're interested in?

New subjects

  1. Are there new subjects you might be interested in studying?
  2. Some schools and colleges might offer courses in subjects you haven't studied before.
  3. Find out what’s involved in new subjects – ask your teachers and staff you meet at open days.
  4. How do you learn best – in the classroom or by real, practical experience?

Job or career plans

  1. What do you want to do in the future? Find out about any career, job, or higher education options and check whether you need specific qualifications for them. 
  2. Find out more about any jobs you’d like to work in and if you need specific qualifications.
  3. If you’re aiming for a university course, find out if you need particular subjects or grades to do the one you want.

Where to go – school, college, or work?

  1. What would suit you best – a school sixth form, a larger sixth form, or a further education college?
  2. Would you be better off learning in the workplace?
  3. Are there facilities or activities you’d be interested in that a school or college offers?

Compare courses

  1. Compare courses different providers offer by looking at syllabuses and specifications. Find out which exam board the school or college uses for the qualification you're looking at, and search for and download syllabuses from their websites. 
  2. Find out about the workload of courses. Look at things like how much essay writing, independent reading, or project work you will be expected to do.

What else can help you decide?

  • Go to open days or open evenings – they’re a great opportunity to visit schools and colleges, find out about the courses on offer, and speak to staff and students.
  • Attend careers and skills fairs – these are ideal for meeting colleges, training providers, apprenticeship providers, employers, and careers advisers.
  • Get advice – from careers staff at your school, or try the careers servcies for your region:
  • Discuss your ideas – talk to parents or carers, family and friends to get other viewpoints on your choices.
  • Take a look in your school careers library to find out more about career and course ideas.

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