Why You Should Go To Open Events
Autumn. We associate it with chilly weather, bobble hats, warm soup and I’m A Celebrity. For you Year 11s, it’s synonymous with college, applications, A Levels, and apprenticeships.
Dear Year 11s (and parents!),
I remember when I was in your shoes. This time last year, I was in Year 11, stressing over GCSEs, assessing my career options, not sure where to turn or where to go. Being someone who likes exams (I know!) and plans to go to university, I knew that my route of progression was college and A Levels. Some of you might know exactly what it is you want to do, others not 100%. And that’s ok. I may have known what I wanted to do, but I had no idea where it was that I wanted to go; JLC was looking most likely, but I was also considering New College, Wyke College and QEHS to name a few. Speaking from experience, it’s vital to find the right place for you.
When I was starting to think about college applications in late Year 10, open days were invaluable, even if I was spending days at crossroads, trying desperately to stab at that one, finalised decision. So, I ended up going everywhere, diligently travelling across the region and consistently convincing my parents that this was not a waste of time or petrol. Being able to get a sense of where you will be studying for the next two, maybe three years is so important, as you’ll find out if this is the place. You’ll talk to your teachers who’ll be taking you for so many hours per week, pastoral support, employability and careers staff – all the key players who will mould your college experience into the best shape it can be.
A particular benefit of going to open days is of course talking to staff about your subjects or your extra-curricular prospects. The beauty of these open days is that you can talk to as many teachers as you like about as many subjects and you can dig deeper into the depths of extended opportunities to find out which college will develop you the most into the person you want to be. Don’t underestimate talking to students as well; it’s them that might give you the final push as they’ll tell you what it really means and feels like to be studying that course at that college.
If you’re interested in the same course at different places e.g. Biology, Chemistry or English Literature, getting a feel of each individual course at a college is so crucial given that might help you differentiate which course you like the most. For me, I was taken by the content of JLC’s Geography course; having not studied Geography since Year 8; this might not have seemed like the most natural pathway but I find the spec so interesting and relevant to the world we live in.
Now the world has changed since I went to open days. It might be depressing to hear it reiterated but we are living in unprecedented times due to COVID-19, and you don’t know whether you can see your grandma, let alone do your GCSEs.
Please don’t worry. All colleges know what you’re going through; they understand. No matter what, you will get your GCSE grades and if you work hard you will get a place wherever you want to go. And that’s why this year colleges are going virtual for their open days, so rest assured you won’t miss out on that valuable insight I’ve been waffling about. What’s even better is that for you, you can sit and watch the action all unfold from the comfort of your own home while staff and students answer your questions. You’re just as involved as you were before, just this time round you’re saving mum’s petrol.
Open days, especially virtual ones, can get quite chaotic, especially as far as technology’s concerned, so make sure to book online to reserve your place.
We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!
Faith, Journalism Intern.