What should I expect on a new course?

Expect that....

  • It will take time to settle in to your new course or subject. Give yourself time to adjust

  • You will have questions (and maybe even doubts) about the course and the future

Are you...

  • 1. Feeling nervous and uncertain in the new class or environment?


    • It’s natural to feel nervous when starting a new year in a new class. Remember it’s very likely that everyone else in the class is feeling the same way as you.
    • Give yourself time to settle in and get to know people. It takes time to settle.
    • Think about why you are doing this course. If you are doing this course for your career future, focus on that goal.
    • Joining any clubs, or getting involved in sports, in your school or college, can be a great way to make friends. (Future employers like to see your involvement in more than just study too. It adds to your experience)
    • Look around for others in your class who also look nervous and ask them how they are feeling. This shows your initiative and the courage to overcome your own nerves.


    • You are one of those who enjoys meeting new people, and that’s a great quality to have. As you look forward to your education and work future you can put this down as a strength in applications and CVs.
    • Think about adding to that strength by involving and including others in your class who are looking nervous and unsure. This shows leadership and observation skills.
  • 2. Having doubts that this is the right course for you?


    It’s very sensible to make sure that the course you are doing is in line with your goals for the future.

    • Find out what careers and jobs you can do with this course. Do they match up with your career goals?
    • Look at the entry requirements for the courses, apprenticeships or jobs you want to do in the future
      • Go to UCAS to find the entry criteria for the degree courses you want to apply for
      • Look at job websites and Apprenticeship vacancies to find jobs you are likely to apply for in the future. What qualifications are they asking for?
    • Think about the consequences to leaving your course. What will you do instead? Research other options , and plan your next steps first. Make sure that whatever you are planning does line up with your career goals or meet the entry requirements


    Being confident in your course choice is an excellent start to your year.

    Keeping up this confidence and focus will help you to succeed and achieve your goals.

  • 3. Concerned that you might not be able to afford to stay in education?


    Planning how you can fund your study is very important.

    Costs can include:

    • Course costs
    • Equipment, tools or materials for your study
    • Travel costs
    • Living costs if you live independently
    • Childcare costs if you have dependants

    What support you might get depends on your circumstances. We suggest:

    • Asking your school or college about any grants or support they have or may know about
    • Reading How can I fund my study? about funding for now and potentially in the future
    • Visiting Student Finance Wales to find out what support is available for full and part time students

    Getting a part time or seasonal job to help fund your study could also be a good way to pay for costs. Benefits to having a part time job also include adding to your work experience.

    Note: Before you commit to part time or seasonal work, make sure you can fit it around your studies and cope with the pressure of work and study.


    You’ve got this year’s funding sorted which is great.

    If your goal is to go on to university, then you need to know that funding is changing from 2017.

    Check out Funding for students at university so that you know what to expect for the future.

  • 4. Wondering how you will cope with coursework and exams?


    Ask your teacher or tutor questions about the course work and exams including:

    • How many assignments/exams will there be?
    • What are the dates of the assignments and exams?
    • What assignment/coursework and revision support will there be from the school/college?


    • Don’t panic! Make a plan
    • Ask for help. Don’t stay silent if you need help or are concerned about work and deadlines
    • Get hold of past exam papers
    • If possible talk to students who did the course the year before to get an idea of what is involved


    • Start to think about making a plan now to make sure that you are covering all the key dates and deadlines for coursework, assignments and exams.

  • 5. Unsure about having a new teacher or lecturer?


    It takes time to adjust to a new tutor or teacher.

    They may have a different way of explaining things. They probably have different systems and expectations of you.


    • Give yourself time to settle and adapt
    • Think about the reasons for being on this course. If this is the course that leads to your career goals then keep focused on those goals
    • Remember it’s only one academic year. And if it gets you nearer to your goals it’s worth it
    • If you are struggling to understand things in class, go to your teacher or tutor and ask them to help you. If you can’t understand something, then it’s likely that other people in the class won’t either

    If you’ve allowed time to adapt and you still aren’t happy then talk to someone about it:

    • At school, talk to your form tutor or head of year
    • In college talk to student services, student welfare or head of department
    • Contact us at Careers Wales
    • Share how you feel with trusted friends and family



    • It sounds like you’re settling in well
    • It's good to like and have confidence in your teacher or tutor
    • But remember that your goal is to complete and pass your course
  • 6. Needing help to plan your own time and workload?


    You’ll have a lot more freedom at college and in sixth form. So it’s important that you can manage your own time well.

    Think of this year as a time to develop good organisation, planning and self-motivation.

    Having these strengths will be important to complete your course and achieve your qualification.

    Get started by:

    • Making a plan of the key dates of the year. Get these from your course tutors and teachers
    • Allow more time than you think you will need to do your course work. Then if you get everything done in time you can relax

    Set aside time to:

    • research and study
    • get assignments in on time
    • revise for exams



    • Being well-organised, self-motivated and prioritising your own time, are strengths that are valuable to future employers
    • Planning and being organised and motivated will contribute to a successful year for you
    • Remember that if you are also working, doing sports and hobbies, that these will take up your time. Plan these into your schedule too.


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