After students in England take their GCSEs, many choose to further their education by taking A-Levels at Sixth Form College or online. In this article, I will be talking about the deadlines you will encounter when applying for Sixth Form College, and what to do if you miss the application deadline.
In short, the answer is that different Sixth Form Colleges have different application deadlines. Application deadlines for Sixth Form Colleges tend to fall before GCSE results day which takes place in August. Applications are usually not accepted after September.
Please read on to find out more about the application deadlines and what you could do if you miss them.
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Sixth Form College Application Deadlines
Closing dates for Sixth Form College applications really do vary depending on which Sixth Form College you want to apply to. Certain Sixth Forms Colleges will have earlier closing dates in order to conduct interviews with their applicants. Most of the time, the more popular the Sixth Form College, the earlier the closing date.
The vast majority of Sixth Form Colleges start their courses in September. It is safe to assume that applications for one intake of students will not be accepted after this time. Unless special exceptions were to be made for you – read on for more information on this.
The typical application deadline for most Sixth Form Colleges in England usually falls just before GCSE results are given out in August. This is because this gives the colleges time to hand out conditional offers to their applicants before their final GCSE results are revealed. However, this isn’t to say that some colleges don’t allow applications after results day.
Why Do Sixth Form Colleges Have Set Application Deadlines?
Sixth Form Colleges choose to have application deadlines for their students in order to give themselves time to carry out interviews with students.
Larger Sixth Forms Colleges will have more applicants to go through and will therefore, likely have an earlier closing date for their applications. Some Sixth Form Colleges may not have an interview process at all and therefore, may have a later closing date for their applicants.
It is important that you find out the application deadline early for your chosen Sixth Form College(s) in order to avoid disappointment later on. You can ask in person on open days, find out online or call them.
What Should You Do if You Miss the Sixth Form College Application Deadline?
It happens to everyone – perhaps you had other things on your mind and happened to miss the application deadline for your chosen sixth form college. Most Sixth Form Colleges will allow a little leeway with their application dates (maybe 3 to 4 days). But it isn’t a good idea to count on this so you should check with the college, either in person, online or by phone. If you find that the Sixth Form College will not allow late applicants, then there are other options for you.
Look For Another Sixth Form College
Has your first (or only) choice of sixth form college closed its applications before you signed up? The best thing to do would be to start searching for another college within your area which is suited for you.
Some students have lists of multiple Sixth Form College choices, and if you do, you should try to apply to the other colleges on your list.
Research which courses are run at different colleges in your area. You may want to attend open days in order to look around the college, or you could simply look the college up online to see if it is a possible choice for you. If you need advice about picking a Sixth Form College which is right for you, check out these articles below:
- 12 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Sixth Form College
- How To Choose The Best Sixth Form College.
Consider Taking Online A-Levels
Maybe you have found that there isn’t another Sixth Form College suitable for you? This could be for a variety of reasons – for example: travel, courses, or grade requirements. It is important to remember that you are never out of options. If you are dead set on taking A-Levels, modern technology has made it possible for students today to take A-Level courses online.
Online A-Levels give students the opportunity to take full A-Levels and gain the same qualifications as they would in an in-person Sixth Form College from the comfort of their own home. Depending on which course you purchase, you may be provided with an online tutor to help you study. They can provide you with assistance should you need it while studying the content on the course.
There are many providers of online A-Level courses, so it’s best to search around for courses and prices which are suited to you. For more information about online A-Levels, check out this article here.
Contact The Sixth Form College
Are you still determined to get into your original choice of Sixth Form College? Contacting them and informing them about your situation may be the best thing to do. Let them know about the courses you want to take and why, and then tell them about your mistake about the closing dates.
Be sure not to pester the people at the Sixth Form College – annoying them will get you nowhere. In fact, it will probably slim down your chances of being let into the Sixth Form College.
Be polite and get to the point. You might want to provide them with a copy of your GCSE results if they are particularly exceptional. Certain Sixth Forms Colleges look for students with the most academic promise and may give you an exception if your grades stand out to them.
Take A Gap Year Before Applying Again to Sixth Form College
Who said you have to be 16,17,18 years old while taking your A-Levels? You can take them at any age! Find out more about when you can take, you’re a-Levels here. Due to this, it means that you could take a gap year before applying for the Sixth Form College again if you missed the intake of students the first time around.
Gap years are very popular with students up and down the country. You may want to spend some time gaining work experience so that you have the best chance of getting more jobs in the future. You could also spend this time earning money or travelling before settling down to study again. A gap year also gives you a breather in terms of study – after a stress-filled exam season, you may want to have a break from learning and a gap year is a great way to do that.
You could even use the gap year to retake one or more of your GCSEs in order to achieve higher grades than you were initially awarded. By doing this, you are both ensuring that you meet the grade requirements for your future A-Level courses and extending your knowledge of the subjects you plan to continue in the future. For more information about taking a gap year, check out this article here.
Try Something Other Than A-Levels
If you had your heart set on specific courses which aren’t run anywhere else and you missed the application deadline for Sixth Form College, you could research other forms of higher education other than A-Levels. You never know, there may be a vocational course or apprenticeship for you! You could even jump straight into a full-time job after taking your GCSEs!
The best place to do your research is online, where you can browse hundreds of places which provide higher education alternatives for students who cannot or don’t want to take A-Levels. Check out student websites such as the student room to try and find people who have been in the same situation as you.
If you need some more information about the possible alternatives to A-Levels you could take, check out 8 Alternatives To A-Levels and Things To Do Instead Of College When You Leave School.
What is the Deadline for Switching A-Level Subjects at Sixth Form College?
Of course, there are other situations regarding Sixth Form College which involve deadlines. One of the most common questions asked about sixth form college is whether you can change your courses, both before and after the year has started. Some sixth form colleges will have deadlines for subject changes for their Year 12s, but others will simply sort out student’s course changes on an individual basis.
If you find that the course you have chosen really isn’t for you, you should contact your head of sixth form and discuss it with them. They will let you know if changing courses is a good idea. Most of the time, their answer will depend on how late into the school year you have decided to change and how much of the course you have already completed so far.
If you are finding it difficult to choose which A-Levels to do and need some help, check out this article to help aid your decision.
Why Might You Want to Change Your A-Level Subjects?
Most students looking to take A-Levels find it difficult to narrow down the subjects which they want to study further. There will always be those students who know exactly which A-Levels they are taking, which degree they want to take, which university they want to go to and what job they want in the future.
It’s easy to compare yourself to these people and feel ill prepared for your A-Levels. But you must remember that there are tens of thousands of people just like you who are struggling to pick their subjects. You are not alone.
Many people see 3 as an awkward number of subjects to take, though it eventually makes sense later on for them when they see how much work you have to put into A-Levels. Often, 3 A-Levels are almost too much for the students that take them.
Reasons for wanting to change A-Level courses vary – maybe you decided on the career path you want to take or the degree you want to do after you chose your subjects and think that different courses would be better suited to them, or perhaps you simply aren’t enjoying the courses you have chosen and want to do something else.
If you find yourself in this situation, you should talk to people around you. Your family, teachers, and head of sixth form will help you decide the best path to take.