Considering college? Dos and don’ts
Hotcourses Editor

Considering college? Dos and don’ts

Advice for applying for college courses

First published date November 15 2011 Amended date November 08 2013

Psychology, beauty therapy, carpentry, BTEC, A level, NVQ. When it comes to college courses it’s hard to know where to start. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you what to study at sixth form or college. We can however give you some advice for applying for college courses, in the hope of alleviating some of that stress.

Our college and sixth form area allows you to search and browse college courses and providers. Before that though, there are some things to consider.

We like to keep it simple here at Hotcourses so we’ve come up with some dos and don’ts for those of you thinking about college courses.


DO read the prospectus. Use the ‘Request info’ button on your search results to order one. Poring over the prospectus is the key to making an informed decision about what, where and how you want to study your college courses.


DON’T just pick subjects you’ve already taken at school because you don’t know what the unfamiliar college ones are about. There are more subjects at college/sixth form level than you will have had the choice of in school so research new options as well as the ones you already recognise.


DO visit the college or sixth form you’re thinking about applying to beforehand. It’s important to get a feel for the place and picture yourself studying there. On a college open day you will probably get the chance to meet tutors, tour the campus and even try the canteen food!


DON’T be influenced by where your friends are going. Go for the college or sixth form that suits you. Everyone’s in the same boat when they start sixth form or college courses so making friends will be easy.


DO think about your career when you’re deciding which college courses to do. If you know you want to be a doctor then ask yourself whether a BTEC in Performing Arts is going to achieve that dream. It’s worth thinking ahead and choosing courses that will play to your strengths.


DON’T get too stressed out thinking about your job prospects. We’re not trying to confuse you; it’s just that you might not really know what career path you want to follow yet. As long as you’re picking subjects you’re passionate about, you might discover your perfect job role as you learn.


DO ask other students who have been to the college/sixth form or studied the same course about their experience. Don’t be afraid to bombard them with questions – they were once in your position too, remember!


DON’T leave your college course application until the last minute. This is a massive decision that could potentially affect your entire future. Take time over it and make sure you don’t miss anything out.

and DO consider financial help - find out how you could be entitled to student financial help.


While you’re still in the midst of the decision process, we can offer you plenty of help – we have study guides so you can learn more about potential further education subjects and read student stories. Plus, you can check out reviews of the college courses you are considering or explore career options on our careers advice page.

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