A-level results day has been and gone. It might be that you’re heading off to university, or you may be plunging straight into the world of employment or embarking on an apprenticeship. Whatever your plans are, A-level results day is not the end, but the beginning, of your school leaver career. Five people who have already been there look back on the route they took, a couple of years later.
Will Brady is a level 4 Digital Marketing apprentice. “I decided to do an apprenticeship as although university was heavily pushed onto me, I wanted to grasp the opportunity of being able to learn and earn at the same time. As the apprenticeship market grew bigger and bigger and the variety of options to choose from grew, I felt as if it was much of a viable alternative to uni as companies started to take them seriously!” As an A-level student, Will felt that there could’ve been more information on apprenticeships: “Information was far and few between at sixth form, particularly in comparison to how much information was available on university – It was extremely unbalanced!” Will has thoroughly enjoyed entering the working world: “the highlight has been having such a nice welcome from everybody and also learning a lot in a short space of time – Tackling new challenges is something I love! (The laptop allowance isn’t too bad also!)”.
Max Lyons originally applied to university and did two months of study at University of Chester. However, she realised quickly that it wasn’t for her. She is now a supervisor at Café Nero, and has found employment to be a much better option for her: “throwing myself into the deep end and moving to a city by myself enabled me to push myself.
“University shields you from what's expected from you to a certain extent, and I think the ability to say I've got my own place, my own money, and my own car at 20 is something to be proud of.”
Max is still glad that she gave university a go: “Knowing what I know now, if I were to talk to my sixth form self I'd still say apply for University. The option being there enabled me to really think about what I wanted from life and if I hadn't have gone, I would've always regretted it. However, my independence and growth in self confidence purely came from moving out on my own.”
Emma Lewin is about to enter her 3rd year of Medicine at UCL. She remembers the stress of results day: “I was very nervous in the morning, and I woke up super early so that I could get out the house and be alone when my results came. I missed my offer very slightly, so the hour gap between getting my results and UCAS updating was literally the longest of my life. But once I saw my confirmed place I was super happy for the rest of the day.”
Emma went on to enjoy university: “the highlights were having more independence, meeting people from all different backgrounds, making new friends, plus learning about medicine and the science it is based on in depth. I also enjoyed the vast range of options for extra curricular activities”. Emma held a committee position in Dance Society and wrote for the medical school journal. However, “ssworrying about money and the expense of studying in London is definitely less of a highlight – as is the lack of sleep!”
“Knowing what I know now, if I were to talk to my sixth form self I'd still say apply for University. The option being there enabled me to really think about what I wanted from life and if I hadn't have gone, I would've always regretted it. However, my independence and growth in self confidence purely came from moving out on my own.”
Change of plans
Sophie Connelly originally applied to do History at Durham, but was also offered a place on an Archaeology course. Sophie said; “I'd never really considered it before then, having not even known that it was a course, but I found myself rather taken by the idea. It contained my interest for History but also offered the chance for practical activities and more scientific research. So I decided to accept the counter offer.”
Sophie found out on results day that she had been accepted for the Archaeology course, having missed out on her History firm by one grade. However, at this point she was fully invested in her insurance choice: “there was actually a day where I was in tears over the fact that I might have ended up making the wrong choice putting history down as my firm choice. It was somewhat a relief to be able to tell my parents I was definitely doing Archaeology. I was nervous considering I'd never studied anything like it before but I was looking forward to it.”
After getting better A-level results than she expected, Kate Pulman decided to take a gap year and reapply. Kate says: “I originally took it to go travelling, but within a month I realised I didn’t have enough money or motivation to actually go – so then I saw my gap year as a way of saving up loads of money for uni”. Kate got a job in a restaurant and had just under £4,000 in her bank account by the time she went to university, which certainly helped with the pinch of student living. “I think there’s massive pressure to do something fun on your gap year but actually it’s a good way to just earn money and mature a little bit before uni.”
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