A-levels aren’t just the gateway to higher education – they can be the start of your whole career. With so much at stake, here are our top tips to help you make the right subject choices for your future.
Do your research
A good starting point is the new website ‘Informed Choices’ which allows you to search by degree course to find out which subjects you’ll need. But it’s particularly helpful if you’re unsure which course you want to take – you can select the subjects you’re interested in and the website will suggest degrees you may be eligible to apply for. Make sure you double-check entry requirements with each university though, as they may differ.
If you’re aiming for a particular career, check that the degree you’re considering will help you get there. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has a useful section on their website you can use, or have a look at job adverts to see what the requirements are.
Vocational subjects can be a good idea if you know what you want to do, as they’ll provide a focused route to your chosen career. But if you’re not 100% sure, you may want to consider a more traditional route, opting for subjects that will keep your options open at university and beyond.
Talk to teachers and tutors
There’s a significant jump in pace between GCSEs and A-levels, so while you shouldn’t pick a subject solely because you think you’ll do well, it’s important to get a realistic idea of the workload and course content. That way you can get ahead of the game and put in place the support you’ll need from the start.
Look into new subjects
Many schools will offer additional subjects at A-level that you’ve not had the opportunity to study before. This can be a great way to discover new interests and open doors in new directions. Make sure you get as much advice from teaching staff as possible so you know what to expect, and be careful not to choose subjects that overlap too closely.
Follow your passions
Of course there may be times when you have to take a certain subject, whether you like it or not, to achieve your ultimate goals. But as much as possible – and especially if you’re unsure what you want to do further down the line – choose the subjects that interest you. The more you enjoy your studies, the more motivated and successful you’re likely to be.
For more top tips on how to choose the A-level subjects that are right for you, read this month’s expert insight from A-level tutor James.