Commonly asked questions by Year 11 pupils

Some of the most popular question we get asked

Here are some of the most popular questions we get asked by young people who are thinking of going into further education, along with our answers:

Q. What’s the difference between doing A Levels and doing a vocational qualification?

A. Vocational qualifications can lead to a specific career and are good if students prefer ‘hands on’ learning and coursework rather than exams. A Levels are theory-based and feature a number of exams. Both types of qualification are highly respected by employers and universities, depending on what industry they choose.

Q. How is college different from school?

A. At college the environment is more grown-up to prepare young people for that important next step; work or university.

Q. What’s the difference between an FE college and a sixth form?

A. Sixth forms offer courses for 16-19-year-olds up to Level 3. Further Education colleges offer a much wider range of courses, generally covering many more subjects. As a result, the atmosphere at these colleges including Newcastle College is much more grown-up and diverse.

Q. If a student can’t decide which course to apply for; can they apply for more than one?

A. Yes, students can apply for as many courses as they wish if they are not sure. After a successful application they will be invited to an interview for each course that they have applied for. This will give them a better chance to decide which course is best for them. We advise students to speak to one of our student advisers at the first instance, this will ensure they get a better understanding of the subject/s they are interested in and will help them make a more informed decision on which courses to apply for.

After their interview they will be given a conditional offer on their chosen course, they will be invited in to enrol once they receive their GCSE results in the summer.

Q. Can someone help students decide which course is best for them?

A. Yes, our Student Services team are here to help students make the decision that will best suit them. They are also able to offer all sorts of advice relating to transport, finance and any other issues that students may be concerned about. They can pop in to speak to Student Services on the Ground Floor of our Rye Hill House Building, Rye Hill Campus. 

Q. What happens if a student gets better grades than expected?

A. Well that’s great news, in that case we would look at which course they have applied for and if this was not suitable for them we would endeavour to put them on the most suitable course at the level that reflects their current capabilities and qualifications.

Q. What happens if a student doesn't get high enough grades?

A. If their grades are not as high as they had hoped they don’t need to panic, we will look at which course they have applied for and if they do not meet the entry criteria we would put them on a similar course that suits the level of their qualifications.

Q. How can a student fill in the application when they don’t know what their grades will be?

A. We know that students will not get their GCSE results until the summer so they MUST put their predicted grades on their application form instead. On GCSE Results day they are invited in to enrol by letter and this is usually done after results day.

Q. What happens if a student changes their mind?

A. If a student decides that they no longer want to come to college they just need to let us know and we will withdraw their application.

Q. Who can students use as their referees?

A. They should have one reference from their Form Tutor or Head of Year and the other reference can be from an employer if they have one.

Q. How and when do students need to apply?

A. If a student has decided which course they would like to study they can apply at any time, they can apply here.

They can also apply in person at one of our monthly Open Evenings on the first Wednesday of every month. This will give students and their parents the chance to meet tutors and discuss their preferred course in more detail. Click here for more information.

Q. How long will they have to wait to hear back from the College?

A. Once we have received an application the admissions team in Student Services will send a letter to confirm receipt of the application and students will be invited to come in for an interview.

The interview is informal and we will ask questions to ensure we get students onto the right course. It is also an opportunity for them to ask any questions they may have.

Q. What if a student has declared a learning difficulty/disability?

A. If a student has indicated on their application that they have a learning difficulty or disability, they will be contacted by the Learning Support Team to discuss any support needs they might have.

We will keep in contact with them throughout the year and in order to secure their place they will need to come into college to complete their enrolment. We will need to see confirmation of their qualifications, so they can come along to our Summer Enrolment event which runs from the beginning of August to September 2014 at Rye Hill Campus.

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