It is that time of year where Year 11 students are in the process of studying and completing their GCSE exams. While doing these exams, they are simultaneously searching for prospective sixth forms or colleges. If you are reading this article, it is likely that you belong in the former category and are undertaking your research into which sixth forms you would like to attend.
This process can seem very confusing at first and it is likely the first admissions process that you have undergone after your secondary school admissions. However, there is no need to stress as the information that you are looking for is readily available. It’s better to focus on the fact that this is a very exciting part of your future as you are now able to choose the subjects that you enjoy!
To briefly answer the question, you can apply and accept multiple sixth form colleges, but it is not recommended to do the latter. Technically speaking, you could accept multiple and then pull out of all offers bar one, when you have received your GCSE results, however, this isn’t recommended as it causes problems for the colleges.
The above summarises a concise answer to your question, however, keep reading to find out about key dates and tips for this period of time.
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When Should You Apply to Sixth Form College?
The application process for annual sixth form intake typically occurs from the autumn term to the start of the following year i.e., from October to February of the following year. To learn more about when to apply to college in the UK, take a read of this article.
In the midst of beginning GCSE revision, as well as school events, it is really important to set aside some time to consider your options for sixth form. This can start by deciding what subjects you would like to go on to study.
If you are certain on what career you wish to pursue, then you should get your head down and do some research on the A-Level and or BTEC subjects that will get you there. To get help with the process of picking A-Level subjects, check out this article.
If you’ve already picked your A-Levels, it means that you have less to consider and can focus purely on the sixth form college application process. However, if you do not fit into this category, there is absolutely no need to worry. It is good to keep your options broad as it means that changing your mind doesn’t necessarily mean changing your whole life! You could take this career quiz to help find out what path you should go down.
When considering A-Level options, it is always best to choose those that you enjoy as opposed to ones that you feel under obligation to take. If you focus on your interests, the workload will seem much easier and you will subconsciously be pointed in the direction of your potential career.
How Do You Apply to a Sixth Form?
Most application processes will open during the autumn term of Year 11, along with the open days and transition tasters. These will continue typically from October all the way to February.
Schools will provide an application form, which is usually available on the school website, alongside any entry requirements and contact details of the staff managing applications. From here on, it is self-explanatory, and you would fill in the form and send it off.
You can apply to multiple sixth forms, as well as the sixth form of the school that you attend as there is no limit here. However, it is important to note that acceptance can be based upon GCSE grades so make sure to apply to a range of different just in case.
Here, the advantage of applying to your current school’s sixth form is that they place preference to internal students over external students. This means that they may make conditional offers if your results are beneath the entry requirements.
When Will You Receive Your Sixth Form Offers?
There is no set date for the offers to be released. However almost all schools will send out offers on GCSE results day. If there is a delay it will be a maximum of 3 days after. Therefore GCSE results day is likely the day that you will be receiving your sixth form offers if you are reading this as a Year 11 student
You have a lot more certainty from here, as you are now aware of your GCSE grades and therefore can assume which conditional offers you can accept or not.
When you receive sixth form offers, until you fully confirm that you will be definitely attending one of them, you are technically permitted to accept as many offers as you want. In fact, rarely people recommend doing so as it holds them for when you decide which one, and prevents you potentially losing a place.
During this time, it is a good idea to discuss with family members on your ideas and have a pretty much solid decision on which one you wish to attend, therefore ending the process as soon as possible and securing your place.
What If You Don’t Meet the Entry Requirements to Your Chosen Sixth Form?
Whilst this is unlikely, as your current school will do the best that they can to offer you a place, you may find yourself in a scenario where your GCSE results are inadequate to meet the requirement for the schools that you have applied to.
This can be disheartening however, there are other options to consider, and it certainly cannot stop you from pursuing your dream career.
There is the option of applying to as many colleges as you can as you could be offered a place there or undertaking a BTEC qualification. You also have the option to retake your GCSEs. Check out this article: How Many Times Can You Resit GCSEs?
Do You Have to Apply to a Sixth Form?
Definitely not! You are under no obligation to do so. It all depends on what you would like to do, and what your choices for the future are. If you do not want to go to school sixth form, there is always the option of sixth form colleges or colleges. You have to stay in education until the age of 18 in the UK. Click here to find out more.
There are differences between these. I would advise carrying out your own research in each of them. To briefly summarize: a college tends to be a much larger environment with less personal teaching and more freedom for time management and independent study. Whereas a sixth form is sometimes part of the school and therefore lessons will be timetabled. The students therefore, will have less freedom and more academic support and attention.
Colleges offer a much larger variety of courses, and often resemble a university style of campus and learning. Sixth form schools however will typically offer traditional A-Level subjects. Despite this, different sixth forms may have slightly different subject choices so, it’s important to check each one.
How Do You Decide If You Should Move Sixth Forms?
Choosing to move to a different sixth form is a very big decision. This is because it places you in a completely different environment; alien to the one that you have spent the last 6 years in. It can certainly be a daunting process. It not only involves adapting to the new style of A-Level teaching and the syllabus, but also forming new friendships. Therefore, it is important to be sure when you make the decision of moving sixth forms.
There are many factors that affect individuals personally, for example travelling time from home and pastoral support you’ll have available. However, there are also some general factors that many wish to consider when deciding whether to move. These include the subjects that each sixth form offers as well as the facilities and quality of teaching.
Sixth Form Open Days
Clearly, finding out about the information above will require significant enquiry and research. This may seem like an overwhelming task. Open days are a brilliant place to start. Whilst providing an insight into the school atmosphere, you can view the site and facilities present as well as speaking with the subject teachers to learn about specific methods of teaching.
It can also allow you to meet other prospective students which is always a great start, as you are all in the same boat!
Current and Former Students
Another good way of finding out about the school is through current and former students, as they will have a better insight into the school life. e.
As tempting as it may be, try to avoid being swayed by your friends’ decisions as you all have different opinions and preferences. Check out this article to help aid your decision: 12 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Sixth Form College