Choosing where to go after GCSEs

As you prepare for, and sit, your GCSE exams, you also edge nearer to the end of this academic year. Being fully prepared for your exams is a priority, but you also need be sure of where to continue your education after your exams. If you’ve already decided, great! But if you’re undecided, fear not! We’ve got some handy tips to help you along the way.

Attend an Applicant event

Some colleges and sixth forms offer a special, invitation-only event solely for those who have already submitted an application. These types of event are not run by all colleges or sixth forms, so if one is offered, it is highly recommended you attend. These events often include the chance to try a Taster session for your chosen course, run by your potential tutors and in the presence of other applicants, giving you the opportunity to pretend you’re already enrolled onto your course for a couple of hours! You will even meet your future classmates – maybe even your future circle of friends – giving you a chance to make some contacts before that potentially daunting first day. Barnfield College recently ran our very first Applicant only event, and it was a great success, with 100% positive feedback from applicants and parents, so if you’ve received an invitation for an event of this type, do be sure to attend!

Barnfield College Enterprise Way Motor Vehicle Taster session
Barnfield College prospectus

Visit an Open Event

As we are now entering the summer term, time to visit the places you’ve applied to is limited. In fact, most colleges or sixth forms probably only have one event left that you can attend before they break up for summer. So it’s crucial that you find out the dates and times of these events and utilise the chance while it’s available. Open Events are an invaluable opportunity for applicants to get a taster of the institution they have applied to. You can meet tutors and staff, current and maybe even past students, as well as your prospective peers. It’s important to see the classrooms, workshops and facilities that will be available to you, and seeing them in the flesh will allow you to more accurately assess whether they will give you everything you need than relying on photos in any prospectus.

Our last Open Event of the academic year is on 22 May. You can register here.

Can’t make an Open Event? Arrange a personal tour!

If the dates on offer for Open Events don’t work for you, many colleges and sixth forms will be more than happy to arrange a personal tour for you to visit the areas you need to see. In some ways, these can be even more beneficial as they will provide you the personal touch and a 1-on-1 chance to ask whatever questions you might have left. However it is worth bearing in mind that it may not be possible to grant access to all areas due to lessons taking place. Not only that, it may be difficult for your parent or guardian to arrange time off work to take you, or for your school to grant you time out of class to attend. Plus you’ll miss out on the Open Event buzz!

Barnfield College New Bedford Road reception
Student Engagement team

Give the college an interview!

It isn’t only the applicants that need to sit an interview. Colleges and Sixth forms need to impress you too! It’s a great idea to devise a list of questions regarding issues that are important to you to ensure the choice you make is going to be the right fit. By contacting Student Services and Student Engagement teams, you can ask those questions you may have forgotten to ask at an Open Event, about things such as extracurricular activities, financial aid, or anything else important to you! 

Don’t forget, although our applications are open up until early September, it’s always a wise idea to sort your application out early to ensure you secure your first-choice course. If you have any questions about your application, call Student Services on 01582 569 569 or email us at Good luck in making the right choice for your future!