In September of 2015, I started year 11. It was the last year of secondary school; all we heard was GCSEs and the next step. For me, I was told it had to be A-levels. Nothing else. “You’re too intellectual” I was told.
It’s now April of 2017, and I’m coming to the end of my first year of A-levels (AS levels), and I’m dropping out. I’m leaving to go an apprenticeship, and I couldn’t be happier. The stress and the mental decline that occurred because of A-levels was and remains to be ridiculous.
At least 1 in 3 people drop out of A-levels (according to 2013 statistics and since these stats have got worse but not one article seems to agree on a number).
Now, I want to clarify that this is all my experience. I, personally, couldn’t deal with A-levels at this point in my life. What’s saying you can’t? However, I want to give people the options I never had.
University is still an option! Yes, it’s still an option without A-levels. With an apprenticeship, a BTEC course or even an access course. You aren’t restricted to one road when going to university. Do your research; look at what UCAS points you need, and what you’ll get. Look at what sort of course you want to do and how it’ll benefit you.
I wish I had known in 2015 that I didn’t have to do A-levels. Because then I wouldn’t have wasted a year, being stressed and making myself ill.
However, if you are going on to do A-levels. Be prepared. Organize yourself, take all the help you can get! Prepare for the exams from day 1. Trust me you’ll need to. Look everywhere for ways to revise. Every second of A-levels is tough.
Even if you aren’t doing A-levels be prepared for a major shock, GCSEs will never prepare you for what’s next.
My advice to everyone considering what to do next is to go to college open evenings/days talk to them about your options. Talk to anyone in school or at home. Go online. Use every resource you have because there’s more options than A-levels.
Disclaimer: this is all based on my experience I know a lot of people doing fine with A-levels (compared to me anyway) I just wish I had known this when it was relevant so I thought I’d put it out there!