What comes next at 18+

Whether you’re coming to the end of college, sixth form, an apprenticeship or other training course, there’s plenty of options for what comes next at 18.

For some, you might be looking to continue your studies and gain further qualifications (either because you need them for your dream job or because you’re not ready to enter employment!). Aside from heading off to University, there are a range of ways for you to invest in Higher Education at Level 4 or above. You can also choose how you study – full-time, part-time or remotely from home.

For others, you might choose to stay on at college to continue studying at a higher level or choose a different qualification if you’ve changed your career plans. You have the option to start or continue with a higher or degree level apprenticeship. Or you may be looking to take a gap year, start volunteering, do some work experience or find a job.

So where to start? We’ve summarised the key options about what comes next at 18 and your available options – continuing your studies, entering employment and a combination of the two. Have a watch of our short clip and use our Bitesize Bingo sheets to check you’ve understood the key information.

Choosing to study a Degree

You can study a degree full-time or part-time at University or a HE College, in-person or on-line. You can also gain a degree qualification by studying for a Degree Apprenticeship – completing one day per week at University and the rest of the week in work with an employer.

The most common choices are a Foundation Degree (which takes 2 years to complete and is equivalent to two-thirds of a Bachelor’s Degree) or a Bachelor’s Degree (like Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science) which usually take 3 to 4 years to complete. There’s literally thousands of courses available, whether you’re looking to choose a particular subject (like Maths) or a vocational based degree option (like Medicine).

Going to University

If you’re thinking of heading off to Uni at 18+, it’s a good idea to starting thinking early on about the entry requirements required for a particular course or specific University. It may impact on the choices you make at 16+ and the grades you’ll need to achieve.

UCAS Tariff points translate your Level 3 qualifications and grades into a numerical value. This numerical value is used by University and HE providers to assess whether you meet their entry requirements for a particular course.

You can search on the UCAS website to find out the UCAS Tariff Points requirements for different Universities / HE Providers and their courses.

Not Going to University

If you still want to continue studying, but University isn’t for you, there’s still plenty of options available. You could study for a HNC or HND, complete a Higher or Degree Apprenticeship or opt for other accredited or non-accredited courses.

Depending on your circumstances, there may be funding available until the age of 25 to complete particular courses that relate to specific jobs or careers. Some focus on skills development (like leadership or confidence building). Others are job-specific (like social care or coding) and can offer a guaranteed job interview with an employer on completion.

Starting Work

On turning 18+, you may decide to leave education and get a part-time or full-time job. This could be temporary whilst you explore different options or focus on the dream job you’ve always wanted. There is the option of internships, volunteering, work placements or even starting your own business.

Useful resources for Teachers and Schools at 16+ and 18+

As part of 16+ Careers Week, we’ve produced some useful resources for teachers, careers advisors, schools and colleges, to help provide young people with a greater understanding of the key things to consider when weighing up your options and thinking about what comes next at 18 (but they come in handy for Years 10 and 11 students too!)

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