Find Your Path

Browse through our Advice,
Guides and Resource Packs

Choosing the right course

Deciding that you want to keep up your studies after GCSEs is only part of the choice - now, you've got to sift through the massive variety of courses and qualifications available. The whole process can seem really overwhelming, but with the right approach, you can have it sorted with minimal stress.
course booksWhat are you looking for?
Firstly, it's important to realise that this is a big decision, and that it's ok to take your time in making up your mind about you want to do. Choosing a course needs to be thought about carefully as you will be studying for at least a couple of years, if not more, so don't rush your decision. Ask yourself some of these questions:
  • What you want to get out of the overall learning experience - a qualification? A set of skills? The experience of being a student in higher education? An excuse to take a gap year?
  • What are you good at, and what do you enjoy? There is no wrong answer here, so be honest with yourself and write down the first few things that come to mind. Even writing things like computer games, books and films all have career options attached to them.
  • What type of course structure suits you - do you prefer end-of-year exams, coursework, or a mixture of both? Are you better at hands-on learning, or going at your own pace?
Where will you find it?
When you've thought about the questions above, the next step is to find a course that fits into as many of those guidelines as possible. If you're not sure about any of the above, or discovered that you have a few different career paths you're interested in taking, talk it over with your family, teachers or careers advisor to help narrow down your options. Then, follow these steps to find a course and a facility that's right for you:
  • Search for your local course using the 14-19 Prospectus  at
  • Find out what the courses you're interested in require - do you need certain GCSEs or A Levels? Do you have the right grades?
  • Next, look into how the course is structured, and find out if it fits into what you answered above about the type of course structure that suits you best. Does it involve a lot of exams, more coursework, a good amount of practical experience, or an even mix of all three?
  • Look at where the course is offered - is it a local college, or a university miles away from where you live? Think about the practicalities in doing the course, such as travel, accommodation and expenses.
  • Find out if there is an open day at the place where you want to do the course, and take the chance to visit the facility and talk to the instructors involved.
So, by taking a huge, daunting decision and turning it into small questions and simple steps, you can figure out the best path to follow in your studies. The next part is to enjoy preparing for your course!

Related Articles

School Leaver Jobs

Apprentice Programme 2017 - Multi Skilled Operative Joining us as an Apprentice Multi Skilled Operative, you will provide day shift cover for all aspect Employer : Skanska Derby Royal Hospital, Derby Competitive Apprentice Programme 2017 - Civil Engineer Joining us as an Apprentice Civil Engineer, you will complete a 2-3 year training programme, includi Employer : Skanska London & South East Competitive Apprentice Programme 2017 - Maintenance Painter Joining us as an Apprentice Maintenance Painter, you will carry out interior and exterior painting & Employer : Skanska Derby Royal Hospital, Derby Competitive Engineering Design Degree Apprenticeship in Civil Structural Electrical and Mechanical Over five years we will provide you with a structured training scheme giving you the opportunity to Employer : Sellafield Ltd Risley, Warrington. £14,694 Trainee Accountant - Commercial Are you looking for more than an Apprenticeship? Are you looking to kick-start your career in accoun Employer : Old Mill Group Yeovil Competitive