• Top Tips on how to research Further Education Colleges for Year 11 Pupils 18 October 2015 | View comments

  • For some students it is worth considering moving to a College of Further and Higher Education known as Further Education (FE) colleges. These colleges (not all, you need to check) generally offer both A-levels and vocational qualifications (work related courses).

    However, a college environment is different from a school and it is worth considering the following:

    • Are you an independent learner?
    • Can you manage your time effectively?
    • Are you interested in vocational, rather than purely academic qualifications?
    • Do you like to be treated as an adult?


    Choosing your subjects / course(s)

    • What subjects / course(s) are you interested in?
    • What subjects / course(s) will you do well in?
    • What subjects / course(s) will help you pursue your chosen career?

    If you are unsure about your career destination then you should be choosing subjects / course(s) that will enable you to keep your options open.

    Entry Requirements

    The entry requirements to study A-levels in an F.E. College are unlikely to be different from a sixth form, but you may be able to study less subjects.

    For students achieving A to C grades at GCSE you should be aiming for a level 3 qualification.

    However, with some courses you may have to start at level 2. This is to ensure you have the underpinning knowledge of that subject. This will be discussed with you at interview stage.


    A Further Education College timetable is slightly different from a school timetable as you will have free periods/days and your learning may be condensed into for example 3 days.  Students may choose to use this time doing course work/homework, working part-time to build work experience, volunteering and/or becoming involved in college activities.

    If you are considering going to a Further Education College it is worth going along to        Open Days/ Evenings  and talking to subject teachers, current students, careers advisers and having a tour of the campus. Should you wish to study at an FE college it is important to get your application in early as courses do fill up.

    If you feel that you may need additional support at the college it is important to ask for it.  Colleges have budgets for this.

    If you are unsure, keep your options open by choosing a range of subjects / course(s) and talk to a Careers Adviser.

    Finally, it is advisable to have a back-up plan just in case.

    A useful website to help with research is www.ucasprogress.com. 

    Read all the information from the college and check application deadlines.

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