After studying at college for the past two and half years, I needed to start thinking about my next steps – Gap year? University? Apprenticeship? Another college course?
Thinking about your options
Thinking about your next steps can be a stressful, anxious time however there are different events and activities which can help narrow your choices down, such as attending university open days, apprenticeship evenings where you can see which apprenticeships you can do and see if any interest you or looking at potential jobs or where you could travel, which you could do in a gap year. Each idea has many benefits and some disadvantages to them however, only you will know which is the right step for you. Speaking to tutors and career advisers can help you find your next step.
Going to open days
After I attended my first University open day I still didn’t know if university would be the right path for me although I started looking at potential courses I could go and do with my college course and my grades. Following on from having an idea of the different courses I could do I started looking at job opportunities – for example, could I work my way up in the business, would I enjoy doing this job, could I see myself in the job and would the degree be needed for the job.
Following on from this I started looking at different cities, which cities I liked and whether they had a university and offered the courses I was interested in. Which then made me think whether I would stay at home whilst studying and commute or whether I would stay at the accommodation.
I was still unsure about university although I still applied on UCAS where you fill in a form, create a personal statement which gets sent off to all the universities you apply for, shortly after you start getting offers back whether you got into university or not or whether it was a conditional (Only get in if you get the entry requirements) or unconditional (Get in to the university no matter the grade you receive after college). I am unsure whether university is the right path for me at this moment in time, but it is always there as an option for after college and you can still go to open days/ offer holder days where you can speak to students currently studying at the university, the lecturers who would teach you the course and activities which you would do during the course at university. This gives you a feeling of the university, the course you would study, and this really helped me narrow down my next steps for after college.
Another idea which I started looking into was apprenticeships, after attending their events and speaking to different businesses I liked the idea of doing an apprenticeship – learning and still earning! A benefit to doing an apprenticeship is that some of them can be equivalent to going to university as in achieving the same level, you could stay at your hometown if you wanted to and commute each day, or you can move into another city and start an apprenticeship somewhere else. The reason for why I didn’t choose doing an apprenticeship was because there weren’t many options for the route I want to go down and I wasn’t ready to start a 9-5 job!
what about a Gap year?
The last idea I had was taking a gap year and working and then potentially go travelling. However, I knew that once I started to travel, I wouldn’t come back and get the job I wanted to do without having a degree. Although taking a gap year is a good idea for people who don’t know what they want to do in the future job wise, university, apprenticeships. Taking a gap year allows and gives people time to think about the future and not to rush into decisions when you’re not sure.
Finalising your decision
After communicating with different people in different fields, speaking to students, lecturers, apprentice teams, travelling to different cities, see what other people took as there next steps, I have decided to go to university although I am still undecisive of which university to go to as they all have different benefits and I still have time to decide – I realised that the other paths weren’t for me although different paths are more beneficial to others!
Tips to help you find your own path
- Don’t stress about your next step.
- Talk to other people – their experiences & why it was beneficial to them.
- Go experience different events that businesses/ companies offer.
- Think about yourself and what will benefit you.
- Give yourself time to think and remember you can change your decision at any time!