Choosing your next step after GCSEs is of course a big decision. With current restrictions meaning Colleges and 6th Forms can’t welcome you in person, you may feel especially daunted about deciding on where you will go this September. In the first of a series of advice articles, the Admissions team at HNC share their top tips for all Year 11s who are submitting applications. Every fortnight we’ll look at a different aspect of applying to College and the journey from application to starting in September.
If you have a topic or a question you’d like answering, email email@example.com. Today we start with our top ten tips.
1. Keep your options open
Applying to a 6th Form attached to your school or somewhere a sibling or friend went may feel like the safest option right now – but you could be missing out.
You can apply to as many institutions as you like, and you can accept offers from multiple institutions too, meaning you can decide at a later date about which of these Colleges best suits you and your ambitions. Don’t be afraid to apply everywhere that’s of interest, because there are still lots of ways to get to know a College even if you can't pay a visit.
What is important is that you apply by the relevant closing dates. Applying by our closing date of 12th March will mean you are guaranteed an invitation to interview.
2. Access all the resources you can
Whilst it is currently not safe to welcome you to Campus, we have been working hard to offer you a great virtual experience. You can visit www.hncopenevent.co.uk to take a virtual tour, join taster lessons, check out our support, hear from our Head Students and take a look at our interactive prospectus. Although you may not be able to visit at the moment, there’s a wealth of help and resources online to help support your choices and we are always happy to answer any questions too.
3. Join a taster lesson & do your subject research
Our online event platform www.hncopenevent.co.uk offers short taster lessons across all of our subjects, with links to further resources and information. There are a huge range of courses available to you, some of which like A Level Film Studies, you are unlikely to have experienced at GCSE so make sure you are fully informed about what you can access. These short taster lessons not only help you explore all your options, but can also help you firm up your shortlist as they are a great way to sample the content you'll explore. If you have decided on your subjects, make sure you research these in full – even if you have studied a subject at GCSE it can be quite different at post 16, so making sure that you have taken an in-depth look at your options is an investment in your future and helps you to know you are making the right choices.
4. Remember, what you are doing now will still count
Although the full picture for awarding of GCSE grades this summer is still not clear, staying engaged in remote learning is vital – not only will it form part of any assessments, it is important preparation for Level 3 study. This year our school reference will ask about engagement in remote learning too.
5. Don't forget you’ll be supported every step of the way
Every applicant to HNC will be given access to our online Campus HNC @ Home. This will open in mid April and each week will release new content to support you. This will include subject based activities to help you prepare for the future, competitions, mental well-being advice and support, interactive sessions with our current students and focus weeks such as ‘HNC Careers Week’ where you’ll be able to sample some our Careers support and speak to our Careers team for support and advice.
This will be available to all applicants – with no obligation to accept a place- and will help you to learn more about your subject choices and life at College.
6. Don’t panic
We know this may feel like a stressful time but it is important not to panic about your future – the picture is the same for every applicant, and Colleges everywhere are adapting to changing circumstances to make sure you are not put at any disadvantage. Here at HNC for example, we are asking your school to put in your predicted grades, with a chance to revisit these if they require updating.
Our best advice is to stay focused and continue to work hard.
7.Speak to Careers
Your school will have a Careers team who will be doing their very best to support you – even when your school buildings may be closed. If you are unsure about your next steps, make sure you seek their advice and support. As part of our HNC @ Home we’ll also be running a special Careers Week to support you and at this you’ll also be able to access the support of our Careers team
8. Take a virtual tour
You might not be able to walk around a College, but a virtual tour offers the next best thing and allows you to check out the facilities on offer. You can take HNC’s at www.hncopenevent.co.uk
9. Find out more on social media
Social media accounts often give you a really good insight into daily life at College, and the types of opportunities that will available to you as a student, as well as giving you a bit more of a feel for the type of community you will join – you can follow HNC at @Huddnewcoll
10. Say yes!
There are so many innovative ways to find out about your future choices – and you have nothing to lose by saying yes. We’ll be offering lots of ways to explore HNC to our applicants, to support you to make the right choices – including the chance to speak to our students live. Don’t be afraid to say yes to the opportunities you are offered!