Posted on: January 14th 2020

What to think about when choosing a sixth form

Happy New Year!

It's been two years since our Admissions Team began working at LAE, so we thought we would share some of what we have learnt over the past 24 months about things to think about when choosing where to study next.

What are your values and aspirations?

All colleges and sixth forms will have information about their values, aims and ethos on their websites. These are important because they play a key role in setting the culture and atmosphere of an organisation. Think carefully about what matters to you, and what you aim to achieve, and see which sixth forms match up.

If you are in-sync with the values and aims of a sixth form, then the chances are that you will have a really good time there! For example, if you have high aspirations and love learning, you will fit in well at LAE Stratford.

What support is available?

A Levels are a big step-up from GCSE, and wherever you go, you are sure to have a busy two years! It's definitely worth thinking about the support that different sixth forms can offer you if you need it.
We are really proud of the fact that more than 99% of students complete their full two years  with us, and you can see what we do at LAE to support our students here.

What is the track record like?

It is worth checking to see what a sixth form's track record is like for supporting students with similar aspirations to yours, since it is one of the best indicators of the quality of the teaching, support and opportunities available.

All schools, colleges and sixth forms must display their latest results on their websites, and it's good to look at attainment (the grades), progression (how many go on to university or work) and value-added results (student progress relative to other institutions) to gain a full picture.

What goes on outside the classroom?

When it comes to applying to university or for jobs, you will find that simply having good grades is not enough - you need to be able to demonstrate that you are a well-rounded person.

Have a think about the co-curricular opportunities and work preparation opportunities each sixth form has on offer and how they will help to take you to where you want to go. We are proud of our offer, and you can view all of our co-curricular and work opportunities here andhere.

What sort of atmosphere do you want?

The main difference between sixth forms and colleges, aside from the courses on offer,  is the type of atmosphere each offers. Sixth forms tend to feel a lot more like school, whereas colleges can be a bit less structured in terms of timetable, uniform etc. 

Some people prefer the structure and focus of a school environment, whilst others are ready for something different. Think carefully about which one will give you the best chance of success.

It's fair to say that LAE feels more like a school, and the atmosphere is very focused and supportive, with all our students here for the same reason: to be the best that they can be.

How far away is it?

Travel considerations are important to bear in mind - you will have a lot to do wherever you go, so make sure you factor in how much time you will spend commuting. LAE is easy to get to from all over London and is served by the buses, Tube, Overground, DLR, Cross Rail and National Rail. 

Ask for advice

If you're really stuck about where you want to apply, ask your teachers, family and friends for their advice. They should know you pretty well, and might be able to offer a slightly different perspective on things. However, remember that you are the one who will be doing the studying, so make sure it is the right choice for you!

And don't forget...

...there is no such thing as the best sixth form or college - there is only the best one for you, and if you are willing to work hard and make the most of every opportunity, then you will find success at whichever sixth form or college you choose to go to.

Good luck with all of your applications!