When you come to start thinking about your options after GCSEs, it can be quite daunting to know what to do. You might be unsure what career you’d like to aim for, or maybe you know what you want to do but have no clue how to get started. Firstly, remember that while picking the right A Levels is important, they’re not the be-all and end-all of your life if you later decide you want to do something else. You can always take more qualifications or change careers later in life.
Sometimes talking it all over with another person can really help clarify your thoughts. But there are so many places you can go to get good advice that knowing where to start can be difficult.
First off, it’s worth talking to your parents. Discuss what subjects you do and don’t like, which ones you’re good at and what sort of careers you might like. Parents can see your good and bad traits and can help guide you towards subjects that will suit your abilities best. Plus, your parents are probably the only people you know with fully-fledged careers and it’s always good to get the perspective of a working person.
That being said, many parents will have gone through a different education system to you. Different qualifications, subjects and even attitudes can mean that your parents don’t fully understand all of your options. This is why it’s worth talking to your teachers. They will have likely guided thousands of students and have a first-hand knowledge of how the education system has changed over the years.
Teachers will also be able to help you decide if your abilities are enough to undertake a subject at A-Level. While hard work and persistence will have a huge impact on your grade at the end of it all, there will be subjects that just don’t suit your abilities. Make sure you talk to as many teachers as you can so that you can gain an overall picture of your options.
Then there’re career advisers. Gone are the days when a careers adviser made you take a questionnaire then gave you an oversimplified, computer generated answer. These days, careers advisers are highly trained to help you figure out where your skills lie and how you can translate them into a career.
Your own instinct
Lastly, go with your gut! Whilst getting advice from others is great, sometimes you just know that something is right for you. Your friend might think Maths is boring, your mum might think Music is a waste of time and one of your teachers might not think you’ll succeed at Economics. But if you know that you love a subject and you’re good at it, why not give it a go; it could lead you right to where you want to be!
Do you have more A Level options advice for young students? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Hamed Saber / Flickr