What next after A-levels or college?

What next after A-levels or college_770Finishing your A-levels or other courses but unsure what next? With a range of different routes and options to choose from, check out our guide for ideas on your next move.

Thinking of going to university?

If you really enjoy a particular subject, or have set your heart on a career that requires a degree, then university can seem an obvious choice. But before getting swept along, it’s worth considering the bigger picture – the time, money and effort involved, and the alternatives out there – to check it’s both the right path and the right time for you.

Get help making choices with our Eight questions to help decide if university is your next step.

What about college?

A further education college course is an option if you want to study new subjects, gain new skills or improve existing ones. Some colleges also offer A-level re-takes, if you want to take your exams again to boost your grades.

A college course can be the standard route for certain careers. A year-long Art Foundation course, for example, is a common path to studying art at higher education.

You can explore and compare courses at hundreds of colleges through UCAS Progress.

How about an apprenticeship?

If you want to learn a new profession, trade or skill, then this could be the route for you. An apprenticeship is a real job with training so you can earn while you learn and pick up qualifications as you go. Schemes take between one and four years to complete and run on three different levels, so you can choose a level that suits you.

See Five reasons to take a closer look at apprenticeships for more details.

Starting work

If you want to start your working life, our Quick guide to successful job hunting is packed with tips to help you get a job.

Eight ways to look for work has ideas on where to find vacancies and you can also check out jobs boards on NotgoingtoUni and Milkround School Leavers.

Setting up your own business

Becoming an entrepreneur is something you can try at any age, although there are special schemes and support available to encourage young people to set up their own business.

Starting your own business lists organisations providing  information, support and advice to help get your idea off the ground.

Taking a gap year

A gap year is a popular option for people who want to take some time out and try something different or new, before continuing with their studies or starting work.  Your gap year could include travelling, volunteering, gaining paid work experience or a combination of all three.

See What is a gap year? for more ideas.

Getting advice

If you’re still at school or college then speak to your teachers or career advisors. Parents, carers, friends and relatives may also be able to provide ideas and guidance.

The National Careers Service offers advice online or by phone.

Where next?

Search icould career videos by subject, job type or life event to discover what careers are out there and see people talking about their jobs.

See Choosing well: how to pick the right path for you for support making big decisions.