The Student Room Group

College vs Sixth form

Hey everyone,

I’m in year 10 and have been thinking about going to a sixth form or college for a levels. I was hoping for people to tell me about their experience in each and hopefully this will help me decide. Thanks for your help!
Original post by Mathsgirl888
Hey everyone,

I’m in year 10 and have been thinking about going to a sixth form or college for a levels. I was hoping for people to tell me about their experience in each and hopefully this will help me decide. Thanks for your help!

Best thing you can do is look at their websites/ go to their open days/ talk to current students at your local ones. It really depends on where you are, however I went to college and made some new friends and the support and lessons were fantastic, however at sixth form you may get more relations with your teachers and students in sixth form apparently become more chill. Either way both are fine as long as you get the a levels you need!
Reply 2
Original post by Mathsgirl888
Hey everyone,

I’m in year 10 and have been thinking about going to a sixth form or college for a levels. I was hoping for people to tell me about their experience in each and hopefully this will help me decide. Thanks for your help!

from my experience, i go to a sixth form currently (im in year 13) and my sixth form is really strict like we have to wear business wear, follow a bunch of rules etc probably because my sixth form is attached to a high school. i'd say the main difference between both is that you get more freedom at college but have to do more independent learning while sixthform theres a lot of help from teachers and restricted freedom.
overall i dont really mind either as long as im getting my a level grades
Original post by Mathsgirl888
Hey everyone,

I’m in year 10 and have been thinking about going to a sixth form or college for a levels. I was hoping for people to tell me about their experience in each and hopefully this will help me decide. Thanks for your help!


I go to a sixth form and do A levels, generally sixth form is a good idea if you're planning to go to uni, whereas colleges generally offer more vocational courses e.g.BTECs and NVQs in health + social care, hair + beauty, plumbing etc so might be a good plan if you know what you want to do and want to get straight into employment. I will say sixth form is very different to being in the lower school (I stayed on at my school from yr7 to sixth form), e.g relationships with teachers are better, they're less autocratic and tend to have more time for you, relationships with those in my year outside my friendship groups are better because everyone's split up more for A levels compared to GCSEs, relationships with younger years are different, e.g. I got the opportunity to coach lower school football teams and run a mental wellbeing club for the lower school, and you can hold positions of more responsibility, e.g. we had subject ambassadors and a student senior leadership team that reflected the senior leadership team of teachers. Some sixth forms also offer AS, EPQ, BTECs and IB so worth looking into various qualifications to see what might help you get into a career you like. My sixth fro is at a grammar school and it's an academy (which means it's funded by the local authority rather than the government proper I think) so I might have a different experience to others in sixth form but can always visit a few local sixth forms and colleges to scout them out and see what you like more.
Original post by Jake9920
Best thing you can do is look at their websites/ go to their open days/ talk to current students at your local ones. It really depends on where you are, however I went to college and made some new friends and the support and lessons were fantastic, however at sixth form you may get more relations with your teachers and students in sixth form apparently become more chill. Either way both are fine as long as you get the a levels you need!


Original post by Doraxx
from my experience, i go to a sixth form currently (im in year 13) and my sixth form is really strict like we have to wear business wear, follow a bunch of rules etc probably because my sixth form is attached to a high school. i'd say the main difference between both is that you get more freedom at college but have to do more independent learning while sixthform theres a lot of help from teachers and restricted freedom.
overall i dont really mind either as long as im getting my a level grades


Original post by bea_murray0
I go to a sixth form and do A levels, generally sixth form is a good idea if you're planning to go to uni, whereas colleges generally offer more vocational courses e.g.BTECs and NVQs in health + social care, hair + beauty, plumbing etc so might be a good plan if you know what you want to do and want to get straight into employment. I will say sixth form is very different to being in the lower school (I stayed on at my school from yr7 to sixth form), e.g relationships with teachers are better, they're less autocratic and tend to have more time for you, relationships with those in my year outside my friendship groups are better because everyone's split up more for A levels compared to GCSEs, relationships with younger years are different, e.g. I got the opportunity to coach lower school football teams and run a mental wellbeing club for the lower school, and you can hold positions of more responsibility, e.g. we had subject ambassadors and a student senior leadership team that reflected the senior leadership team of teachers. Some sixth forms also offer AS, EPQ, BTECs and IB so worth looking into various qualifications to see what might help you get into a career you like. My sixth fro is at a grammar school and it's an academy (which means it's funded by the local authority rather than the government proper I think) so I might have a different experience to others in sixth form but can always visit a few local sixth forms and colleges to scout them out and see what you like more.

Thanks for the responses guys. I know I want to do A levels(or potentially an IB/Pre U equivalent). I'm just not sure whether I'd prefer a more independent or tradition secondary school atmosphere.
College is the best way to go these days. I go sixth-form and it’s stressful and difficult for no reason. My brother however went the college route and has achieved two level 3 qualifications with distinctions which outweigh my A level Grades and are accepted by many Universities and Apprenticeships. College also gives you more free-time and less stress as results are based on coursework rather than old fashioned exams. Sixth-form in my opinion should only be for those who want to go into medical professions or degrees which cant be accessed through B-techs. Hope this helped..
Original post by JustHelp2.0
College is the best way to go these days. I go sixth-form and it’s stressful and difficult for no reason. My brother however went the college route and has achieved two level 3 qualifications with distinctions which outweigh my A level Grades and are accepted by many Universities and Apprenticeships. College also gives you more free-time and less stress as results are based on coursework rather than old fashioned exams. Sixth-form in my opinion should only be for those who want to go into medical professions or degrees which cant be accessed through B-techs. Hope this helped..


Thank you. That’s an interesting perspective. I know a lot of people who say sixth form is more stressful, so this must be a common trend
Reply 7
i have had a really good experience at a sixth form, i dont know much about what it is like for colleges for a levels, but i like the support i get here, i have heard that generally at colleges there is more freedom, but i like having structure and being in more of a community, you are able to get to know your teachers more (i have been at my school since year 7 to 13 so maybe me a bit more haha) and they have more time for support, and although there may be more specific work, colleges still have a lot of independent work, so it does take motivation to do this. as well, with applying to uni, there is more support and advice at sixth forms over colleges.

it just really depends what sort of place you are looking for, and if you want to go to uni or not. i would say if you want to go to uni, sixth form would be a better option, but if you want to an apprentiship ect a college may be better due to the different types of courses!
(edited 8 months ago)
I’ve had a terrible experience at sixth form. Everything is a mess and they don’t tell us things until the last second. The teaching isn’t bad but the general sixth form experience definitely has been. Might just be me though lol
Original post by Mathsgirl888
Hey everyone,

I’m in year 10 and have been thinking about going to a sixth form or college for a levels. I was hoping for people to tell me about their experience in each and hopefully this will help me decide. Thanks for your help!

Hi, not sure how much this will help but here’s my advice.
I’m currently in year 13 and go to a sixth form myself doing biology, chemistry and psychology. I initially chose sixth form because i liked the idea of having small classes and a close community. Although the class sizes are small and there is community it feels very separated as in people who do the same subjects tend to sit together during frees and lunch etc. As well as this you feel a lot more competition between your fellow classmates as it’s not that hard to figure out how everyone did in tests and so on, so that is a downside. I do know that college is a lot more independent so if you know you can live without the structure of a sixth form, college is a good option. I do enjoy sixth form however and I do think that my sixth forms a bit small compared to others (around 30 students in year 13).

However I do like being in a sixth form as I have a great group of friends and people from your subjects will all be very friendly towards each other which is the upside.
From my friends that go to college I understand that they have a lot of free time, rules aren’t as strict (in some places) but they do rely on you to get your own work done, so if you do want to do well in your A levels it is up to you and your hard work.

Here’s some advice for if you’re struggling picking which subjects
In terms of the subjects I would suggest looking at subject requirements for courses at university and choose from there? But i do understand that you are essentially picking your life here. Another option would be checking if places offer an AS in one subject and doing that instead. A more far fetched idea would probably be picking 4 A levels and dropping one one at the end of year 12 if you’ve decided by then what it is you want to do.

Overall I would say do some research on it all and talk to friends, family to weigh up your options, maybe to talk to teachers as they probably know good options.

I feel like this was very wordy but hope this helps :smile:)

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