It would be fair to say that thousands of GCSE students will wake up on GCSE results day (20th August) with an extra sense of trepidation, given the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without traditional exams, results have been derived on the predictions of teachers, alongside a ranking of all students taking that subject at each school or college.
Now, more than ever before, the role of a parent and carer will be critical in helping to manage emotions and provide support, especially if things don’t go to plan. Remember, the majority get on to their chosen Level 3 courses at college or sixth form, or an apprenticeship.
After which, there is a fortnight before schools are due to start teaching again. This is an opportunity for parents and carers to undertake some light-touch research into at careers and higher education.
Here are 5 tips on how to make the best use of this time:
- Higher Education is an option at 18. The most popular way is to study full-time for an undergraduate degree at a university or college. But how much do you know about the alternatives?
The Government is pledging to do more around higher and degree apprenticeship starts (options to get a HE qualification while in work and being paid) although due to the competitive nature of these, it’s typical for an 18 year old to hedge their bets and apply for university courses at the same time.
- Challenge your preconceptions. Higher Education is more diverse than simply university or studying for a degree. Alternative, work-based courses such as HNDs or Foundation Degrees, are a good fit for those who have an idea of what career they want. The grades needed to get on these courses are more flexible.
- Don’t write off Higher Education if you are not studying A-levels. Universities, colleges and employers accept many alternative Level 3 qualifications. Websites such as SACU and The UniGuide can help match qualifications and interests to potential Higher Education courses.
- Look for reliable and impartial sources of information. The Discover Uni website allows you compare different courses in different locations across a range of criteria – including future earnings.
- Think about the long-term. Much will be written in the months ahead about planned reforms to the system, some of which will not apply to those about to start college or sixth form.
Whatever emerges, it pays to remember that those with Higher Education qualifications often earn more over their lifetimes, and are less likely to experience long-term unemployment.
Higher Education remains more than just an economic outcome. It is, and remains, a transformative and life-affirming experience for thousands of young people each year.
Article author – Ian McGarry, GM Higher Information, Advice, and Guidance Manager.
In a higher education admissions career spanning over 15 years, Ian has managed results day operations at four different UK universities.