College and Technical Courses

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There are a range of colleges in Kent and they offer different levels of courses depending on what entry requirements you meet. You may have different reasons for wanting to go to a college rather than a sixth form which might include wanting to study something with a technical specialism or even just because it’s closer to home. They tend to be a lot bigger than sixth forms and will require you to not only be very independent, but also be careful choosing your level of course.

  • Level 1, for example, is the equivalent of grades 1-3 at GCSE and helps you build your confidence in a subject area.
  • Level 2 is the equivalent of 4-9 at GCSE and is sometimes required for something more practical (e.g. plumbing) even if you’ve already got your English and maths.
  • Level 3 is the equivalent of A levels.
  • Level 4-7 are offered by some colleges (not all though, so check – Mid Kent College has a specialist university centre for higher technical qualifications in Maidstone) and usually require you to have level 3 qualifications before you can start them.

You can find college courses listed online along with the other post-16 courses on the Kent Choices website, but you may need to apply to them using their own application on their websites.

Is a further education college for me?

‘As always, talk to family, friends, school staff and your careers adviser and make sure you have all the information you need before making any decisions.

‘Also, use your interview at college well; ask questions about pass rates, drop-out rates and try to speak to current students – they will certainly tell you what it’s really like!

‘Try to have a tour of the college to see the facilities in the teaching areas, library, common room (though try not to spend TOO much time there when you’re a student!) and eating areas.

‘Many people say that colleges treat students ‘more like adults’ than is the case in a sixth form. This is probably true in that you are not told where to be all the time, when to eat, what to wear etc. However, it doesn’t suit everyone.

‘Some students prefer a learning environment which is more regulated and supported rather than organising things on their own. You need to take a look at yourself and work out where you would achieve better – after all, that’s what matters in the end.’

(Studential: ‘Should I Go to Sixth Form or College’ Accessed: 9 July 2019)