Is dropping out of sixth form a bad decision?
Deciding what to do after your GCSE’s can be hard. At that age, it’s difficult to know what you want to do in life. Lots decide to go with the most obvious choice or listen to the suggestions of others. But what if you’re now having regrets or doubts about your decision to go to the sixth form?
If you’re regretting your decision to go back to school or college to sit your A Levels or other Level 3 qualification then is the best decision to leave in year 12 or 13? This depends on you as an individual and your circumstances.
Why do you want to leave?
The first thing to consider must be your reason for wanting to leave. You might have regretted it straight away, but thought at the time that it was the right option for you. But this may be a case of the sooner the better because you can then look at other options without wasting too much time on something you don’t want to do. It might be difficult to admit you’ve made the wrong choice and there are many things that could make you stay:
- Pressure from parents/guardians to follow the traditional route
- Guilt from your friends for leaving them
- Teachers encouraging you to give it a bit more time
- Putting pressure on yourself
Making the decision to stop what you’re doing and to try something else can be scary, but be brave. You’re the most important person in this and you must make the right decision for you.
Choices, choices, choices!
You have more choices than ever before about what to do next. But a lot of young people still feel the pressure that the formal education route is what they should be doing, and is the best option for them. This is certainly not always the case.
If you want to go on to University in the future then you will need to get the grades needed, but that doesn’t mean you have to do that now. You can return to education at any age.
But maybe you have no interest at all in higher education, and that’s ok. Sometimes it just takes a bit of time to figure out what we’re interested in doing.
Be prepared with a CV
Perhaps you’re keen to start working. There are many job websites and recruitment agencies out there. Having an up to date CV is one of the most important things you will need when looking for a job. You can create a CV on many of the job websites, future employers can look at an uploaded version or you can attach when applying. Take a look at Indeed.co.uk.
It’s likely that you’ve already created a CV during your time in the sixth form. This is usually done in the Welsh Baccalaureate lessons using the Careers Wales CV builder. If you haven’t created one, then take a look at the Careers Wales website.
Build on your experience
If you’re not sure what you want to do, and you have parents that are happy to support you, then you could use this time to gain new experiences, skills and knowledge by volunteering. There are lots of different volunteering opportunities in Wales such as volunteer playworker with Groundwork Wales or a music volunteer with RecRock. The options are endless. Take a look at the Volunteering Wales website to search all the opportunities in your area.
Pack your bag and travel
Another option for those lucky enough is to go travelling. This can be an excellent chance to gain new skills, knowledge and experience, especially if you work while you’re travelling.
Anywork Anywhere is a great starting point to find inspiration. It lists paid and volunteer opportunities all over the world. It also gives lots of important information about visas, insurance, immunisations and so on.
There are many other similar organisations too so it may be worth doing some research before making such a big decision, just as you would if you were choosing a University for 3-5 years.
Too late to leave?
Maybe you didn’t regret your decision straight away. You may have done a term or more and are finding it hard to settle, things are too difficult or you just hate it. It may be wise to give it some more thought because maybe all you need is some extra support from friends, family or school staff. If you’ve already given a lot of time to the course then it’s worth really thinking about the reasons you want to leave.
But if you have given it a lot of thought, and you’re still certain that the best thing would be to leave, then that’s ok too. You can then go through all the options suggested above.
Often your parents/guardians will worry more about this decision than you. You should show them that you’ve really thought about it, have done some research and go to them with a plan of your next steps. This may stop them worrying that you’re going spend your days watching YouTube videos! You’ll need their support whatever you decide to do next.
So don’t panic, you do have choices. Nothing is set in stone! Although it may not be an ideal situation, and it may be very scary, changing your plans is a really mature thing to do and it could be the best decision you make.
If you have some big decisions to make that are worrying you, or if there’s anything else you’d like to talk to a friendly advisor about, then call Meic.
Meic is an information and advocacy helpline for children and young people aged 0-25 in Wales. We are open 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. You can contact us free on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.