Back to School Series 2015: 10 Things You should know before starting college

Friday, 21 August 2015

I'm back again! How have you all been doing?

Today was a very important day for 16 year old's in the UK today, they received their GCSE results! It's been exactly one year since I received mine and a lot has changed! For those of you who don't know, GCSE's are basically Exams that high school (or what we call, secondary) students have to take, and the results determine whether you can go onto College or Sixth form. Last week, I received my AS level results, so I want to give the year below me some tips to take onto college. Sixth form is the "bridge" between High School and College, incorporating both teaching styles into one place. In most Sixth Forms and Colleges, we take things called A Levels, which are qualifications that help you get a degree or a job. They're usually separated into two years, AS in the first year, and A2 in the next.


Which brings me onto this post! I was thinking about whether I should do this, but I figured "why the heck not", so I would like to announced that starting from this post, I will be starting a back to school series 2015! I did something similar last year and ended up not finishing it, so I want to try my best and do them all now! First up on the list is "10 Things you should know before starting college"!

1. AS Grades DO matter!
A lot of my friends told me that AS didn't matter and that Employers and Universities only look at your A2 grade. Here is the truth on the matter. Uni's base applicants off their AS grade. So if you fail AS, it will be really hard for you to achieve an A2 grade good enough to get into Uni, which could also hurt your chances of getting a job. Don't think that your AS year is just for partying. It's tough, so make sure you help yourself out during the first year.

2. A Levels are not everything.
There are a lot more options apart from Alevels. There are BTEC's, Foundation courses, and Apprenticeships. Don't think that the whole world is out to get you if you find out that maybe Alevels might not be for you. You can still get into Uni's and get a great job from doing others things that aren't Alevels. Don't worry about your friends making fun of you for choosing another option. If your friends get 3 D's (lowest possible pass grade) in their A level's but you get 3 D* (Distinction, highest pass grade) in your BTEC course, Uni's will pick you over your friend.

3. You get one shot.
I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT MESS UP YOUR FIRST YEAR! Just don't. You have two years to do something that took 5 years to do for GCSE's. If you fail in your first year, chances are you will have to either resit exams, retake the whole year again, or worst case scenario; your college/sixth form decides to kick you out to make room for students who will do better than you. No one is going to force you to do better, it's all on you. You mess up, it's all over. Don't make it harder than it has to be.

4. Organization is key.
Taking 3 subjects? have a book for each one. Keep your notes tidy. Do homework when on the day its given. Go through the topic before you start the next lesson. Back your bag and pick your clothes for the next day. Buy a revision book or two. As mentioned above, no one is going to force you to stay organized. They won't give out free planners, so it's all on you. If you organize yourself well enough throughout the year, the jump from GCSE's to Alevels or BTEC's won't be as huge as everyone says.

5. Teachers are your friends now.
You don't call them Miss/Madame and Mister/Sir anymore. You call them by their name, their real name. Scary I know. You now call Mrs Smith, Katie. You call Mr Bunsen, Paul. Teachers look at you weirdly if you call them by anything else. Also, They're there to help, as them a question as you would your friend. They won't bite, I promise.

6. No one cares.
This is true. So very true. No one cares if you're not wearing make-up or if you are. No one cares if your in a Shirt and Jeans or in a cute Dress. No one cares if you miss class for them. No one cares about what GCSE grades you got. No one cares if you didn't do you homework because "I wasn't there when it was set". They might look like they care, but trust me they don't, and if they do then they're too immature to realize that they're wasting their time judging others when they could be doing something about themselves and their grades.

7. Fighting is for kids.
Don't bother. Someone gossips about you? Ignore it. Someone tries to pick a fight? Ignore it. If it gets too much, contact your college's care team or a teacher you trust to sort it out. Don't waste your time on them. They'll soon realize that what they're doing isn't bothering you and will go onto the next person. At the same time however, if you see someone being bullied, tell a teacher. Keeping silent isn't always the answer. Do what is best for the situation, but try not to get involved.

8. There is no such thing as "Saved by the bell" anymore.
There is no bell. The only bell you are hearing is the alarm on your phone/clock to wake you up. Different classes start at different times so to avoid bothering another class, most colleges choose to skip having a bell altogether. This means that you have organize yourself better. Make you you get on the early bus/train to get to your lessons on time. Leave as much time as possible to get to class. Figure the times when area's of your college get busy to avoid the crowd. If you get to class and the door is shut, you're late.

9. Revision is the key to success.
I don't think I need to say this, but I'll say i anyway. What's an educational post without talking about revision? Needless to say, Revision is essential to the final grade you get. My teacher always used to tell me, "To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail". Try to find your best revision technique. Even if you "feel" like you've been revising, it might not show on the final exam. Do test papers, test your friends, keep reading and making notes. Whatever it is that helps you, do it. For more exam tips, see my post here!

10. Breaks are a blessing.
I know I went on and on saying how you have to revise and work hard and all, but it's not a crime to take a break. I've seen my friends work non stop for days, and they ended up burning out by the time they did their mocks ,which they ended up failing. There is a point where your brain stops taking in information, so give yourself time and relax. Go out with your friends and eat ice cream!

And that's all for today! I hope you all enjoyed this post! There will be more posts on this series to come from now up until I go back to college during the first week of September, so be sure to look out for my posts! If you don't want to miss out on my posts, feel free to follow my GFC, Bloglovin or Twitter for updates!

And lastly, a word to all of the students who just received their GCSE results!
Congratulations! Don't listen to the meanies who say "GCSE's are nothing". For me GCSE's were a struggle. I know more than anyone that up until that point in your life, GCSE's are the biggest hurdle you've ever had to face, so you should feel proud of yourself for finally leaping over that hurdle. Take the next few weeks to not only prepare for College/Sixth Form, but to chill out and relax!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer!