Career Ambition to Reality

7 top tips for students on making the most out of college or sixth form

With results season behind us it’s now time for you, the next generation of college and sixth form students, to get your notebooks and pens together and prepare to start a new, and challenging, chapter in life.

Getting to class on time, doing plenty of revision and completing the set homework are essential in order to do well.

But, what isn’t talked about enough, are the other crucial things you could be doing to make the most out of your college or sixth form years.

Here are seven tips for you to think about when you start college or sixth form. These will help during your studies but will also help set you up for life after education.

1. The more work experience you do, the better.

If you’re not sure which direction you are headed and what career is right for you then work experience is an ideal way to explore different career options. Using your free time to work with an organisation while you’re studying not only looks great on your CV, but also demonstrates to future employers your willingness to learn new skills, your passion for the industry and your enthusiasm to steadily move into the world of work.

2. Be productive.

Don’t just do the work in class while chatting with your friend and never look at it again. Try to look over your notes and do some further reading outside the classroom. Being one step ahead will result in a better understanding of the subject, and will teach you how to work independently and how to make the best use of your time.

3. Prepare your CV.

Write or update your CV to include the new skills, experience and qualifications you get in college. This keeps your CV up to date, and you’ll be ready to apply for jobs or apprenticeships before the end of your course. You can also use your CV to apply for part time or seasonal work to build up your experience. Ask a parent or your Career Adviser to help. A second pair of eyes might pick up that unspotted typo! A career adviser will be able to help offer advice to get the most out of your CV. Contact Learner Services in your college or speak to your Head of Year in sixth form to find out how Careers Wales can help or contact us directly.

4. Volunteering is more worthwhile than you think.

What seems like working for free is actually one of the most beneficial things you can do while in college or sixth form. Volunteering helps to develop your communication skills, grow your confidence, make new friends and contacts and be a part of your local community. It also challenges you, testing your abilities to work in different environments with people you don’t know. What’s more, it looks great on your CV or university application.

5. Get a part time job.

A part time job alongside your studies will introduce you to the world of work, and will also teach you about having responsibilities while balancing family, work, friends and studies. So whether it’s working in a café on a Saturday morning, or dedicating a few afternoons a week to working at your corner shop, it will make you more independent, more mature and will give you an idea of what it’s like to have commitments other than college and school.

6. Use the new technology available to you.

In a world where social media and technology are a big part of our everyday lives, educational apps are a no-brainer. There are so many out there to help with your learning, whether that’s a to do list or a study log to help you manage your time better, pop up revision reminders, or practice exam questions. Apps like Gojimo, BBC Bitesize, Microsoft One Note and Be Focused are all great examples.

7. Get involved in college or school life.

Joining clubs or doing activities run in your school or college are a great way to gain experience and to get to know people. Opportunities to become chairperson, treasurer or to organise events can add to your skills. Commitment in a club shows future employers that you have a wider range of experiences, and is great to include in your CV.

If you have any enquires, or need any help to do with exams, your studies or what to do after college, contact us today.

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