What should I do after my GCSEs?
The big day is has arrived. You're literally holding your future in your hands: a big brown envelope with your GCSE results inside.
This day is a big deal. Instead of being told what to study, what to wear and when to take a break, you now have the freedom to make your own decisions. You still have a few years left in education, but there are lots of options for you to choose from – it's now up to you to forge your own path into the world of work.
So, what are the options?
1. Sixth form
Sixth form is still part of a school, but you'll have much more freedom than Key Stage 4 students. In most sixth forms, you can choose 3 or 4 AS level courses which you study for one year, and then take 3 of the subjects into 2nd year as A levels. Many sixth forms offer a wide variety of subjects – from philosophy to photography; from media to marine science – so it's a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and specialise your skills.
Sixth forms often have separate common rooms, social events and uniform policies for sixth formers, so it will feel like a big step up from secondary school.
Colleges offer the same level of education as sixth forms, but they're not part of a school. Colleges also tend to offer more vocational training courses – such as NVQs, BTECs and higher national diplomas – as well as AS and A levels. This means you can study a wider range of subjects, including beauty therapy, travel and tourism, woodwork or animal care – the possibilities are endless!
If you're not sure whether college or sixth form is best for you, check out their open days to get a feel for the place and see what courses are on offer in your area.
Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with study, so most apprentices usually spend one day a week at college. This means you can earn-while-you-learn and gain valuable work experience while you train. Apprenticeships normally take between 1 and 4 years to complete depending on the level, and stretch from entry level courses to degree apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships are available in a range of subjects across all sectors, and many high-quality, prestigious companies offer them – from Google to the BBC. Most apprentices stay on in the company as a full-time employee, so they're the perfect way to learn the ropes, build your experience and kickstart your career.
In fact, loads of world-renowned celebrities started out as apprentices. We've selected our top 10 celeb apprentices here – can you guess who they are?