Going to College
Further education colleges – commonly known as FE colleges – are for all students aged 16 and over, so by attending an FE college students can study alongside people of all ages. FE colleges offer a much wider choice of courses at all different levels than standard schools, including A-levels and vocational qualifications.
FE colleges provide technical and professional education and training for young people and adults. Courses range from basic English and maths programmes to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and BTECs. Many people see the appeal of these institutions. Last year there were more young adults in further education college than there were in university, 2.9 million compared with 2.4 million. Some FE colleges specialise in art and design, catering, engineering or finance. Some colleges have links with companies, so that students studying vocational courses can combine classroom learning with valuable work experience.
These colleges are a totally different world to school or sixth form college: students are expected to be responsible and take control of their own time-management, which can be great for those craving more independence. Further education colleges also offer a much wider range of courses than sixth form colleges or schools, in a far less formal environment – which can be very appealing to some young people.
Check out our advice articles in this section to find out more about FE college and the options it offers you.