Tips for choosing the right course

Assess yourself and your interests:
• Level of interest in subjects/courses
• New or familiar subjects?
• Motivation to study
• Evaluate your interests and options

What do you hope to gain from a College course:
• Explore different careers related to your interests?
• Develop career skills?
• Extend your academic subject knowledge?

How to find out more:
• Information and Careers Events
• Websites, Social Media and Apps
• Current and past students
• Teachers, parents, friends

• Consider carefully all options including Full-time vs. Part-time study, volunteering, apprenticeship, etc. Find out more about Modern Apprenticeships, where you can earn while you learn
• Discuss your options with family, School or College Guidance staff.

Personal Statement Tips

  • Explain clearly why you are applying for the course(s)
  • Show enthusiasm. Be prepared to share what gets you excited in your subjects or studies.
  • Be confident.  Colleges are looking for students who are excited about the opportunities ahead of them, not just what you have accomplished so far.
  • Write about your qualities and achievements.
  • Keep it simple - avoid spelling mistakes, long sentences and check for errors.
  • Apply early. College (and university) applications often have deadlines.

Please see our Personal Statement Guide (PDF)

Case studies

I started my school link programme when I was in S3 because it would get me out of school and give me a different experience. I picked the construction option as my career interest lay with Sports and Joinery. The programme was for one afternoon a week for 2 years.

I really enjoyed the practical skills in the workshop and getting a taste of each of the trades. It also gave me an insight to college and the opportunity to learn in a different way from school. It was great for my CV because I gained a basic knowledge of each trade which helps when working on a building site as it gives me an understanding of how the trades work together. My efforts were recognised when I won the Practical Skills Award in 2011.

I completed Int. 2 in Practical Craft in 5th Year and got offered a 4-year apprenticeship training with Oastlers. I now work for Oastlers and come to college on block release. I enjoy working for a company but would eventually like to be self-employed.
Bradley Ronan

I started the school-link programme when I was in 3rd year at Baldragon Academy. I chose to do the professional cookery course to give me an insight in to what it would be like to do this at college full time and to see if it was what I would want to do in the future. I enjoyed meeting new people, the practical cookery sessions and achieving some qualifications but I felt that professional cookery wasn’t for me.

I left school after 6th year and went to college to study Hospitality Management. I completed two years – first HNC then went on to achieve HND. When I was 16 I got a part-time job waitressing at the Invercarse Hotel and was able to continue this whilst at college. When I completed college in June 2012 I went full time and have recently been made supervisor in the restaurant at the hotel.

In five years’ time I see myself running my own successful restaurant or hotel.
Claire Allardice

I enjoyed going to the course every week for 2 years once a week for the care course, i was happy to have that opportunity to be told about this. I found the course interesting I did not find it too hard keeping up with the school work I was missing. it was a good chance to meet other people from different schools and after the course finished I still would meet up with one of the girls from a different school.
Getting taught about child development, play and other things allowed me to know I would like to learn more and hopefully become a teacher using the NC Early Education and Childcare course to know and get experience working with children.
Lorna Ness