What comes next after GCSEs? This is a replication of an article written for the summer 2017 edition of Archant’s North London Education & Training magazine – now also published here on the Skinners’ Academy website for easy access.
Exams are over and you have a whole summer ahead of you.
You’ve done it.
Completing your GCSEs is a significant milestone in your educational journey – and not just because it’s your first major set of exams but also because after over a decade in the educational system, you have (probably for the first time) now reached the point where you will start making active decisions about what comes next. How exciting (and a bit nerve wracking too right?)…
So what does come next after GCSEs? Here are four ways to make the most of this summer before you embark on your next chapter:
- Do something character building – Make the most of the summer break by doing something which builds your character and confidence. This can involve arranging work experience, participating in NCS (the National Citizen Service, a unique and exciting experience for 15-17 year olds – http://www.ncsyes.co.uk/what-is-ncs), volunteering at a local organisation (such as Hackney Pirates on http://www.hackneypirates.org/volunteer-with-the-hackney-pirates/, Volunteer Centre Hackney on http://www.vchackney.org/website2017/ or search volunteering opportunities (in Hackney or beyond) to find an organisation that looks interesting to you. You can also go onto Young Hackney’s What’s On page to find out about youth club, fitness activities and more- https://www.younghackney.org/whats-on/
- Embrace your city: Some of these ideas could fit into the character building category, but they are worth emphasising in their own right. You live in one of the most amazing cities in the world and have some world-class opportunities on your doorstep. Over the summer months, you can visit the Tate Modern, the Southbank Centre and even closer to home, the Olympic Park – http://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/whats-on/events and many more.
- Compile / update your CV: Within your secondary school years, alongside studying towards your GCSEs, you probably participated in a wide range of enriching activities. For our pupils at Skinners’ Academy that may include national enterprise competitions, instrumental lessons, debate competitions, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Year 10 work experience, Police Cadets, Into University and much more. While you’ll need to wait until August for your actual results, it would be a useful exercise for you to compile your CV now so you’re in a position to (1) write an amazing personal statement for your UCAS or other application form in the near future and / or (2) have what’s needed to apply for a part time job (or any other interesting opportunity) while you’re in Year 12 or college.
- Get clear on what you want to do from September: By this stage, you should have applied for whatever educational or training opportunity you would like to embark on from September. You may have applied to sixth forms, colleges, apprenticeships, school leaver schemes etc and this summer is a great time to gain clarity about what you want to do / achieve in the future and what you want your immediate next steps to be. For example, if you are considering sixth forms where you can be working towards you’re A Levels or BTEC qualifications, make sure you get really clear on what you want from the next two years. You’ll want to study subjects you are passionate about and have access to excellent teaching staff – and do also remember to look at whether the institution you are considering focuses on initiatives which help you increase your confidence and embrace your personal development. It is this academic and personal development combination that will help you to be the best you can be, both now and in the future.
Have an amazing summer and good luck with those all important decisions. Embrace them positively. You’ve got this.
Gina Visram is a qualified career coach, the careers development co-ordinator at Skinners’ Academy in Hackney and is part of a team at the Academy that is determined to help students to be the best they can. If you’re interested in finding out more about the possibilities to join the Skinners’ Academy Sixth Form in September 2017, visit www.skinnersacademy.org.uk and / or email email@example.com.