First we’ll show you all the different options to help you decide whether you want to go to university or college. Then if you choose to go ahead, we’ll show you how to make your application on ucas.com.
University or college – gain valuable skills and a qualification to help you follow your chosen career.
Work – apply for jobs now, or start your own business, with the aim to work up to your future goals.
Training – prepare for the world of work, or learn on the job while you work.
Volunteering – gain experience to help you towards your work or study aspirations.
Travel – get cultural insights during working holidays, learning, conservation or teaching.
Research the options
- What to study – what the options are and how to choose between them.
- Flexible and part-time study – combining education with work, training or other responsibilities.
- Alternatives to uni – training, volunteering and travel.
- UCAS' career finder tool – register for personalised alerts for apprenticeships, school leaver programmes, internships, work experience placements, graduate schemes, and more.
Preparing for the next step
There are lots of extra-curricular activities that can help you decide your future, as well as looking great on your UCAS application and your CV.
Get a taste of higher education
- Go on a higher education taster course at a summer school run by Villiers Park or the Sutton Trust, or study a free online course like FutureLearn.
- Find out more at a UCAS higher education event or a university or college open day.
Gain experience and explore your interests
- Join a club or society in your local area – perhaps in something sporting, creative or musical.
- Develop your skills with ASDAN, Duke of Edinburgh, National Citizen Service or young enterprise.
- Explore science, technology, engineering or maths with the Crest Awards.
- Take on a part-time job, or volunteer with the vInspired Awards, Step Together or Project Trust.
- Gain accreditation in personal effectiveness from ASDAN for activities that prepare you for higher education.
- Get involved with volunteering and social action to create positive change. Information from the Charities Aid Foundation highlights activities such as fundraising, community service, mentoring, etc.
Want to study art and design?
You might need to take an Art Foundation course first, as this is normally required before taking an art and design degree.
- An Art Foundation usually takes a year to complete, after finishing your A levels or equivalent.
- Alternatively, you might be able to take a longer diploma that incorporates art foundation with other post-16 subjects.
- Find out more from school, college or careers advisers, or check with colleges and universities around the country.
- Please note different course providers have different strengths and specialities in art and design, so even if you're choosing from nearby locations, find out which one would be best for you.
International and EU students
You’ll need to be able to demonstrate your English language skills to study a course in the UK – so think about whether you’ll need to improve your English.Read more advice for international and EU students.
Don’t worry if you feel unprepared for higher education – if you don’t have any particular qualifications, you may find your life experience has already given you everything you’ll need.