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Students in college: How did you find joining college? Please help :)

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    I'm close-ish to going into college. I was just wondering how you found it. Did you make new friends? I was worried because I don't really know anyone who is doing the same subjects as me, so did you make any new friends and did you still have time to spend with old friends? Is it good only focussing on chosen subjects? Do you prefer the timetables at college?

    I'd really appreciate any advice or anything
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    I'm about to go to college too! (Well hope to anyway) and would also appreciate someone explaining what it's like there and a bit of general advice
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    Well hopefully someone will reply soon :bl:
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    When I was making my decision of going to college or staying on at sixth form, my teachers at school basically said I would fail if I took my A levels at college... Alas they were only saying this for funding etc which made me want to go to college even more because I'm pretty stubborn aha I chose to go to college and I'm now about to take my AS exams in psychology, sociology, communication and culture and Religious Studies.

    I don't know if it's the same for all colleges but some only let you take 4 a levels if they feel you are 'capable' enough but most of them prefer you to take 4 because of uni entry requirements and the fact that now even most sixth forms make you take 4 so it puts you in a better position.

    Of course it's natural to be worried about making new friends, but remember everyone else there will be feeling the same so you'll be fine

    There's a lot more freedom at college than at sixth form, it's more independent but that doesn't mean to say that if you need help you won't get it. I'd say I get more help at college than I ever did at school, the tutors are so altruistic ^.^

    It's more of a relaxed environment, you don't call them sir or miss and if you show them respect, they'll show you it back. The environment is mature, although it's common courtesy to not swear in class for example, you're not going to get 'told off' if you do, and don't be surprised if a couple of your tutors swear as well, it's an adult environment definitely different from school.

    A lot of my friends who stayed at sixth form say they still get treated like they're in school, they have to go to assemblies still and it just sounds very school-like. Although I do still see a couple of my friends who stayed at sixth form, a levels are very time consuming aha but it's not impossible to stay in contact if you both put the effort in

    I definitely prefer my timetable as well, although some days I'm in 9-6 I get Fridays off which is lovely! At sixth form I know they're still on the 9-3:30 timetable 5 days a week.

    The transition from college to university will be a lot easier than sixth form to university, because you basically get spoon fed like you're in year 7 (in my opinion) It will certainly be a culture shock for some people I know at sixth form!

    Sorry for this being so long, I hope it helps a little
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    (Original post by musergirl)
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    Basically what hisgrinningskull said above.

    However, I found that you will realise who your true friends are. You might notice some people only made the effort in school because you were in their class, etc. And now that you're in college they don't make the effort, or don't want to go out if you try to make the effort. This is what I have learnt anyway.

    You make loads of new friends at college so that's not something to worry about as everyone is in the same position from the start.

    Your timetable depends on what you're taking really, if it's a course you might only be in 2 and a half days a week, but if it's A-levels then you'll be in quite a lot, bearing in mind you might want to do some self study as well to get high grades.

    One thing I can say is, don't underestimate the level of work you have to put in once you get to college. School and GCSEs are easy compared to higher level studies. Make sure you keep up with the workload and don't let yourself fall behind!

    I love college and all of my old friends at high school regret staying on as they're treated like kids.
    And pay no attention to people saying you'll do worse at college, it's all personal effort. If you put the effort in, you'll do well.
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    I had the choice of college or sixthform.
    My head of sixthform told me i'd fail at college because i was just a number on a seat.
    This was not the case.
    I LOVED MY COLLEGE YEARS. BEST 2 YEARS EVER.
    The classes were smaller, so tutors got to no me personally one on one, because class ages ranged from 16 upwards. (usually no older than 20) everyone was spoken to on a mature level.
    At first, i did miss my school friends a lot, i was in a big group at school, and most of them stuck together and went to to sixthform, and i didn't know anyone at college.
    However because of the vareity of people, and the small numbers, everyone got along like a big family, and while bitchy arguements still went on in sixthform, i didn't have any issues because everyone just got on with everyone.
    I still kept in touch with many school friends, although many also do fade out as the months go on, you gain different interests and don't see each other as much, you learn its life and its happens when you move jobs, or even go to uni.

    I made some amazing friends at college, ive visited them at Uni, and still keep in touch with some even now, although we only knew each other 2 years.
    I would pay anything to go back and relive my college days, and was quite disappointed when i went to Uni because i actually enjoyed college more.
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    I loved college! Especially in A2. Hated my third year though so I don't recommend one :P
    In AS, I did make new friends in my classes but outside of class, I still hung around with the same friendship group from high school which I did prefer. However, the first half of AS I seriously struggled as it was a huge leap from GCSE learning but I sorted it out for the June exams.
    Definitely preferred being focused on the different subjects and yes, the timetable was better. Rather than doing the five different classes a day in high school, it was two different lessons (generally lasted between two hours and 2 and half hours). We also got morning break, afternoon break and a 2 hour lunch break depending on if you had a class in the third period. Generally, that was only once a week or never for me.
    In A2, I got to know A LOT more people - it was so much fun! But it did f' up my exams as I didn't work hard enough.
    Hence, my third year. 95% of my friends GONE, learning the same subjects again. It was boring as hell.
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    (Original post by hisgrinningskull)

    Sorry for this being so long, I hope it helps a little
    Thanks so much! This really helped me I'm stubborn too - everyone was like 'Go to sixth form it's more academic!' But I'm choosing college and your help made me feel better about it all - I too believe that it's about personal effort. I'd love to get Fridays off! College really does sound much better than staying at school!

    Thanks so much
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    (Original post by lsaul95)
    And pay no attention to people saying you'll do worse at college, it's all personal effort. If you put the effort in, you'll do well.
    Thanks so much for the help! I really agree with the bit I quoted. It's made me feel a lot better about going to college!
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    (Original post by natalieann1993)
    I LOVED MY COLLEGE YEARS. BEST 2 YEARS EVER.
    The classes were smaller, so tutors got to no me personally one on one, because class ages ranged from 16 upwards. (usually no older than 20) everyone was spoken to on a mature level.
    ................................ ...and while bitchy arguements still went on in sixthform, i didn't have any issues because everyone just got on with everyone.
    Thank you so much for this advice! I'm really glad to hear about the 'no bitchy arguments' thing, because I'm getting really sick of that in secondary. You've made me feel a lot better!
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    (Original post by doughnut92)
    Definitely preferred being focused on the different subjects and yes, the timetable was better. Rather than doing the five different classes a day in high school, it was two different lessons (generally lasted between two hours and 2 and half hours).
    Thank you so much, I'm really exited to just be focussing on subjects of my choosing - no maths!
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    THANK YOU EVERYONE!

    Another question: I'm doing Ancient History, Graphics, English Combined, and Fine Art. Has anyone done any of these? If yes, how did you find/are you finding them?

    We get the choice to do up to 5 a levels, but I think I'd rather keep it at 4 as I want to put lots of effort into each one. I think I'll drop graphics or fine art at AS level, unless I love them both
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    (Original post by musergirl)
    I'm close-ish to going into college. I was just wondering how you found it. Did you make new friends? I was worried because I don't really know anyone who is doing the same subjects as me, so did you make any new friends and did you still have time to spend with old friends? Is it good only focussing on chosen subjects? Do you prefer the timetables at college?

    I'd really appreciate any advice or anything
    :hi:

    I love college, it's so much a better environment than school (and sixth form I'd imagine, although of course I haven't been).

    As other people have said, most people will be in the same position of not knowing many people in their lessons, so making friends will come fairly naturally. You'll get a chance to chat with people in your class during breaks and group work, and gradually get to know people you get along with better. I'd say the social life is a lot more fluid as well, in that people tend to gather in bigger and more open groups, so it's less of a big deal for you to hang around with different people each day and at different times. That way, you get to meet a much wider variety of people so you're likely to find lots of people you get along with well (as well as some you don't, of course). That said, I still spend a lot of time with my close friends from school, out of choice. But many people have pretty much split off from their school friends - it just depends what you want. Just let it happen naturally, and if you find people you like better than your old friends, then don't feel obliged to stick with them just because you knew them at school. But don't feel bad about staying with school friends if you enjoy being with them more than anyone else. :dontknow:

    I think it's brilliant to only focus on subjects that you choose. There's also a lot more flexibility with changing your subjects, because for the first several weeks (I think it was up to the first half-term at my college), you can still drop and pick up different subjects and swap courses if you're not happy with what you started. I changed one course to another, and then dropped it altogether in the first few weeks. And then at the end of the first year you can completely change your courses if you want, or drop some and pick up others again, and there's the option of a third year if you need the extra time to complete the subjects you want/need. The great thing about only doing subjects you want is that everyone else is only doing subjects they want. Meaning there's no one in a lesson who doesn't want to be there - if they didn't want to be there, they just wouldn't be. Everyone pays attention and does what the teacher tells them, because they know why they're there. Several times we've had lessons where the teacher isn't in, but left work to do on the board, and everyone just gets on and does it, rather than skiving or messing about as they would at school.

    And I greatly prefer the timetable of college too. It's much more flexible than school (or sixth form), because you are only expected in the classrooms where your lessons take place, during the lesson hours. Other than that, you can do what you like. So if you finish early, you can just go home, or if you have a long break in the middle of the day you can go out or go to town, and you are free to go wherever in the college you like any time in the day. It feels a lot more adult, because you are just being trusted to get to where you need to be when you need to be there, and trusted to do what is necessary any time apart from that.

    Advice-wise.. Basically, the best thing about college is also what makes it harder than school, and that is the fact that you are treated as an independent adult. You are expected to work for yourself, and do what you need to, to do well. That's not that help isn't available if you need it, but that (for example) if you do badly in a test, the teacher won't seek you out to help you. If you want to do better, you need to make sure they know that, and seek out the help you need. Similarly things like home work, revision and course work. Very few of my lessons have specific 'homework' with a set deadline which gets marked and returned. But right from the start of the year, I was revising stuff I'd done in lessons each week, writing up notes from the lessons and going over things I didn't understand before we moved on to the next topic. I know people who didn't go over their lesson work at all from the start of the year, and they are seriously struggling now, come revision/exam time. At school, you don't really need to do much at all outside of lessons, but you absolutely can't assume that in college. Expect to work several hours a week at home, at a minimum. Before college, we were told to expect an equal number of home-working hours as lesson hours (i.e. five per week per A-level), but that's a bit of an overestimate. I'd say I spent 1-2 hours per week per subject, on average, doing work at home. I don't want to scare you or anything, because the point of college is that you are only studying the subjects you want to study (and you have the ability to change at the start of the year), so most of the time you will be enjoying what you are learning and enjoying working at home. That's the theory anyway, because if you aren't enjoying it at all, there's really no reason for you to be in college.


    That wasn't meant to be so much of a ramble, apologies. If you have any other questions or anything, feel free to ask.
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    (Original post by Amwazicles)
    :hi:
    I love college, it's so much a better environment than school (and sixth form I'd imagine, although of course I haven't been).................
    I can't thank you enough for this fantastic advice and stuff. It's made me really exited to go to college now! I'm sorry for this pathetic little reply to such a long and not at all rambling post, but all I can say is that I'm really appreciative of everything you put. I'm really glad to be doing the subjects that I am doing, and I'm very pleased that I have the ability to change if I feel I want to.

    For one last time, thank you SO much for that
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    (Original post by musergirl)
    THANK YOU EVERYONE!

    Another question: I'm doing Ancient History, Graphics, English Combined, and Fine Art. Has anyone done any of these? If yes, how did you find/are you finding them?

    We get the choice to do up to 5 a levels, but I think I'd rather keep it at 4 as I want to put lots of effort into each one. I think I'll drop graphics or fine art at AS level, unless I love them both
    :hi: Again

    I took fine art at the start of the year, but only for a few weeks before dropping it. The workload is very heavy and (I found) heavy early on too. Most course had a sort of probation period, with some kind of minor test or assessment a few weeks in, as a way of judging whether people would cope with the course. For fine art, (at my college) it was a mini-project, where you had to do the research, planning, ideas etc and then a final piece. I'm guessing you probably did art at GCSE - it's similar sort of stuff, there's no massively new ideas or tasks to get your head around, it's just that there's more of all of it. You're expected to produce more work, in less time, and there's also more emphasis on the written work. Where at GCSE you can get by on fairly small amounts of annotations, at AS you are expected to write a lot about everything you do, and in detail. So just be prepared for that I guess. But that said, it's a good course and presumably you have an idea of what you're getting in for if you've done GCSE anyway.

    At my college we were allowed to start three no matter what, four if we got a minimum of something like 5 Bs at GCSE (something around that) and start five if we got at least 5 As or A*s. I started five in my first few weeks (including fine art), and then dropped it a few weeks in. I found the workload very heavy going, especially with an art subject where there is a lot of out-of-lessons work. That said, a friend of mine took 5, consisting of four sciences and a language, and she is still going strong. If you think five would be to much then four is a sensible choice because there's no real benefit to doing five unless you just can't decide how to narrow down your choices (which was my problem at first!). And as for dropping one at the end of the first year, that's fair enough too, lots of people do. But some people don't and it's also perfectly possible to do four A2s, although the work does get harder in the second year. And anyway that's not a decision you have to make now.
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    (Original post by musergirl)
    I can't thank you enough for this fantastic advice and stuff. It's made me really exited to go to college now! I'm sorry for this pathetic little reply to such a long and not at all rambling post, but all I can say is that I'm really appreciative of everything you put. I'm really glad to be doing the subjects that I am doing, and I'm very pleased that I have the ability to change if I feel I want to.

    For one last time, thank you SO much for that
    No problem at all. I love a nice ramble. I'm excited for you too - college is great.
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    (Original post by Amwazicles)
    :hi: Again

    I took fine art at the start of the year, but only for a few weeks before dropping it. The workload is very heavy and (I found) heavy early on too. Most course had a sort of probation period, with some kind of minor test or assessment a few weeks in, as a way of judging whether people would cope with the course. For fine art, (at my college) it was a mini-project, where you had to do the research, planning, ideas etc and then a final piece. I'm guessing you probably did art at GCSE - it's similar sort of stuff, there's no massively new ideas or tasks to get your head around, it's just that there's more of all of it. You're expected to produce more work, in less time, and there's also more emphasis on the written work. Where at GCSE you can get by on fairly small amounts of annotations, at AS you are expected to write a lot about everything you do, and in detail. So just be prepared for that I guess. But that said, it's a good course and presumably you have an idea of what you're getting in for if you've done GCSE anyway.

    At my college we were allowed to start three no matter what, four if we got a minimum of something like 5 Bs at GCSE (something around that) and start five if we got at least 5 As or A*s. I started five in my first few weeks (including fine art), and then dropped it a few weeks in. I found the workload very heavy going, especially with an art subject where there is a lot of out-of-lessons work. That said, a friend of mine took 5, consisting of four sciences and a language, and she is still going strong. If you think five would be to much then four is a sensible choice because there's no real benefit to doing five unless you just can't decide how to narrow down your choices (which was my problem at first!). And as for dropping one at the end of the first year, that's fair enough too, lots of people do. But some people don't and it's also perfectly possible to do four A2s, although the work does get harder in the second year. And anyway that's not a decision you have to make now.
    Hey again

    I have indeed done GCSE art, and I LOVE it. I'm much better with a pencil than with a paintbrush though, so I'm hoping you're allowed to choose your own mediums?

    I've heard that there's a heavy workload for Fine Art, but I'm willing to take it on, as it's something I enjoy a lot. I am willing to do a lot of work out of lessons, as it's a great way to officially pursue my hobby! As I want to go into a career of design, I'm thinking it will sit pretty well with Graphics. I'm doing ancient History because I think I'll enjoy it, and that's the same reason why I'm doing English combined (couldn't choose between lit and Lang). I'm glad to have a balance between Academic and Vocational. I'm sticking to 4 subjects so that I can put my extra effort into each 4, rather than stretching it to 5- that way I'll have more spare time to complete work in each subject.

    I'm actually pretty pleased about there being more written work in Art - that's something I really enjoy. Even in GCSE I always put a lot of effort into analysing and annotating each thing I do.

    Exactly - I'll see how they all go, maybe I will continue them all into A2! I'll just see how I find them.

    Thanks again for more great advice
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    (Original post by musergirl)
    Hey again

    I have indeed done GCSE art, and I LOVE it. I'm much better with a pencil than with a paintbrush though, so I'm hoping you're allowed to choose your own mediums?

    I've heard that there's a heavy workload for Fine Art, but I'm willing to take it on, as it's something I enjoy a lot. I am willing to do a lot of work out of lessons, as it's a great way to officially pursue my hobby! As I want to go into a career of design, I'm thinking it will sit pretty well with Graphics. I'm doing ancient History because I think I'll enjoy it, and that's the same reason why I'm doing English combined (couldn't choose between lit and Lang). I'm glad to have a balance between Academic and Vocational. I'm sticking to 4 subjects so that I can put my extra effort into each 4, rather than stretching it to 5- that way I'll have more spare time to complete work in each subject.

    I'm actually pretty pleased about there being more written work in Art - that's something I really enjoy. Even in GCSE I always put a lot of effort into analysing and annotating each thing I do.

    Exactly - I'll see how they all go, maybe I will continue them all into A2! I'll just see how I find them.

    Thanks again for more great advice
    Generally you do workshops with particular media during development. So, for example, as a class you'll study a particular artist and their work, and then do some pieces of your own inspired by their style. In those cases you will generally be advised as to what media to use to portray a certain style. Normally there is more flexibility with final pieces, where you will be able to draw on everything you've learnt in workshops and use your favourite techniques/media from that. I guess it depends on the exam board and your teachers and stuff, but I think our course was broken down into projects based on media and techniques, so for example, a project on drawing, a project on painting and so on. But I don't think it's at all a bad thing to sometimes be forced outside of your comfort zone - you'll learn a lot more by doing new things and you might find that by the end of the year, your favoirite medium is completely different! It's not quite the same, but I've been doing a life drawing course this year, which is just a few hours a week. Some weeks, our teacher tells us what media she wants us to use, or what style to try (e.g. continuous line drawing, or maybe very short time-limited drawings), and although it can be frustrating at first to not be able to do what you want, I've learnt so much since the start of the year about different media and different techniques, that it's actually really valuable to do different things.

    It sounds like you have a really good combination of subjects there :yep: It's the same thing people said to me when they asked what subjects I took - maths, physics, philosophy, psychology (and art) - "What an unusual combination!". But I think it's good to have variety because you'd go mad otherwise.

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    (Original post by Amwazicles)
    Generally you do workshops with particular media during development. So, for example, as a class you'll study a particular artist and their work, and then do some pieces of your own inspired by their style. In those cases you will generally be advised as to what media to use to portray a certain style. Normally there is more flexibility with final pieces, where you will be able to draw on everything you've learnt in workshops and use your favourite techniques/media from that. I guess it depends on the exam board and your teachers and stuff, but I think our course was broken down into projects based on media and techniques, so for example, a project on drawing, a project on painting and so on. But I don't think it's at all a bad thing to sometimes be forced outside of your comfort zone - you'll learn a lot more by doing new things and you might find that by the end of the year, your favoirite medium is completely different! It's not quite the same, but I've been doing a life drawing course this year, which is just a few hours a week. Some weeks, our teacher tells us what media she wants us to use, or what style to try (e.g. continuous line drawing, or maybe very short time-limited drawings), and although it can be frustrating at first to not be able to do what you want, I've learnt so much since the start of the year about different media and different techniques, that it's actually really valuable to do different things.

    It sounds like you have a really good combination of subjects there :yep: It's the same thing people said to me when they asked what subjects I took - maths, physics, philosophy, psychology (and art) - "What an unusual combination!". But I think it's good to have variety because you'd go mad otherwise.

    Wow. Thanks, again, for some great advice. Now I'm pretty glad we'll get to use different mediums - maybe I'll improve my painting! Sounds good. I'm just really exited for Art as it's something I've always loved and not been bad at!! I'm getting more exited with each piece of advice you give me! I suppose it's great to be pushed outside your comfort zone - after all, it is all about learning. I just don't want to embarrass myself. I really hope we do a project on Pop Art because I'm obsessed with the works on Roy Lichtenstein!! (Just something random there). I'm MUCH better at observational drawing than just drawing... if you give me a picture of a face, I can draw it, but just make me draw a face with nothing to draw from and it'll look a bit crap. I hope we do something on cartoons as well...

    ANYWAY! Thanks! My combo is pretty random but it's also broad. I'd rather that that centre on one thing. I was a bit worried about doing two arty subjects, but I guess they're quite different, and it is something I'm really interested in.

    Thanks again!

    Now I must revise! I've been putting it off for so long...
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    (Original post by musergirl)
    Wow. Thanks, again, for some great advice. Now I'm pretty glad we'll get to use different mediums - maybe I'll improve my painting! Sounds good. I'm just really exited for Art as it's something I've always loved and not been bad at!! I'm getting more exited with each piece of advice you give me! I suppose it's great to be pushed outside your comfort zone - after all, it is all about learning. I just don't want to embarrass myself. I really hope we do a project on Pop Art because I'm obsessed with the works on Roy Lichtenstein!! (Just something random there). I'm MUCH better at observational drawing than just drawing... if you give me a picture of a face, I can draw it, but just make me draw a face with nothing to draw from and it'll look a bit crap. I hope we do something on cartoons as well...

    ANYWAY! Thanks! My combo is pretty random but it's also broad. I'd rather that that centre on one thing. I was a bit worried about doing two arty subjects, but I guess they're quite different, and it is something I'm really interested in.

    Thanks again!

    Now I must revise! I've been putting it off for so long...
    Oh good I'm glad I made you feel better about the media thing.

    Also, my brother took Graphics and Art & Design at A-level, and there wasn't too much overlap, so I imagine there'd be even less overlap with Fine Art. I guess you'll do more digital stuff in Graphics, which will be a good contract too.

    No problem! Haha, same here

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