Could someone explain College/Six Form/University? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-31-2009, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DSS just turned 15 and is starting his last year of high school. He says he can't attend six form-- he's never clear on why this is, but maybe he knows his test scores won't be high enough?? I don't think he's taken the tests yet.

He's recently said that he wants to attend a college in Kent, but we don't understand the difference between college and six form and university. Is college more like a trade school?

We want to help him make the best decision, and his mom is not really helping. She wants him to be a plumber or electrician-- which isn't what he wants at all.

Any help is appreciated-- even a website!

Trish

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Old 08-31-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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sixth form and college are really the same thing though colleges offer a wider variety of courses and subjects.

My sister and I both went to the same secondary school. i stayed on a 6th form and she left and went to college where we did a levels. We both did what we wanted to do and went on to uni (she went straight after a levels and I went a few years afterwards). We are both qualified in our desired careers and despite our different routes, have similar qualifications (in fact she did a MA)

Does he know what he wants to do? School 6th forms often strongly promote university as the natural follow on from school. When I said I wasn't going straight to uni, my school basically withdrew all support!!!

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Old 09-02-2009, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much! That's really helpful. I'm going to go online and check out the college he's mentioned in Kent. It just seems like 15 is so young to be making these decisions. Maybe that's an American perspective, though!

Trish

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Old 09-03-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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Gentle advice- I know your DH is a long way away but your DSS's life is going to be much, much harder if he doesn't get at least a C grade in maths and english, preferably five of the things. This may be a good time for your DH to get more involved and pushy, kwim???? Most GCSEs still have a strong coursework component (over years 10 and 11), but even if he didn't do well last year he can get things back on track. Seriously.

As far as plans and commitments go, there is a service called connexions (google his local area) who will talk young people through these kind of decisions. They're good. Insist he talks to them.

Basically, there are several options available for 16-18 education. AS and A2 levels (traditional academic routes), NVQs in both academic and non-academic subjects at level 2 and sundry other trade diplomas. As a general rule, sixth forms run as part of schools will offer mostly A-levels. Sixth form centres will offer mostly A-levels with a handful of NVQs, but will offer a greater degree of freedom for their students and it's a more adult environment. Both of these anticipate that the majority of their students will go on to higher education, and adjust their learning style accordingly. Colleges are, by and large, an adult learning environment. They will offer both A-levels and NVQs, he will likely have at least some mature students in his class and he will be given more freedom to learn/ mess things up on his own than elsewhere. All are free at point of access for 16yos, and all will give him the option of retakes, if that is necessary. But, again, it would be easier if that wasn't, kwim?

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Old 09-04-2009, 08:16 AM
 
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Lunabelly, I really think you should drag his butt along with you to a careers advisor at his High School. I also would not take his word for it that he can't get into a 6th form college. Your DS will have options after 15, even if they are "only" vocational.

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Old 09-04-2009, 08:34 AM
 
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i dont really have anything to add since its been covered already just to say that its correct lol

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Old 09-04-2009, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of your comments. It's good to know that he has options because I've been so worried about his future.

I would love to drag his butt to a career counselor and would do it in a second if he lived in the U.S., but we're not visiting England until July. I hope! I think it will be too late at that point.

I'll check into Connexions and see if I can get someone to take him there.

This is all very frustrating for me because dh doesn't get involved the way I want him to get involved-- I'd be on a plane to England at every possible turn-- but dss does im and facebook me now, so I have a bit of influence.

Also, I have a friend-- and this may sound cooky-- who is intuitive, and she really sees dss going to school in London, studying some sort of design/drawing. Dss has met her and gives a lot of weight to what she sees, so I'm hoping it might help get him on the right path, but I feel like the odds are against him. I hope I'm wrong.

Thanks again!
Trish

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