Do GCSE students have enough information on what A-levels they should pick for their future career? One A-level student, Dan French, shares some wise words with his younger self.
To my two-years-younger self,
I suppose you’re listening to teachers ramble on about GCSE exams right about now. However, these are just preparing you for the next step in your education – A-levels.
Choosing them can be quite a daunting and scary process. You’ll feel too young to be doing it and it feels a little bit wrong. In fact, you’ll feel the same when applying to university and for jobs after that. But believe me when I say, it’s not as bad as it seems.
From the start you’ve been told that your A-level choices will impact your university options. This is true, they really do. Your plan is to study architecture, so I know you’re going to pick your A-levels based on this.
Now, the thought of asking a 15-year-old to make a decision that will affect their entire life sounds insane. So if the plan fails or you don’t want to go to university, just do what you enjoy and do it to the best of your ability. In fact, I know that you’ll change your mind about your career of choice at the end of year 12. It’s not a drastic change, but it will impact your university options. I don’t want you to worry though – you’ll still get offers from two great unis. But you will wonder where else you could have applied for had you known what your career choice would end up being…
There are some factors you should consider when choosing your A-levels though. Before anything else, I’d recommend thinking about whether you’ll be passionate about each subject. Are you going to enjoy the subject enough to make you want to work for it? And then after that, are you likely to get the grades required to enter into that subject?
In terms of support, you have your teachers. They’ve all been through this. I know you may not be the most confident person to go and ask a teacher, but do it. It will be beneficial.
But when it actually comes to doing your A-levels, more and more students are regretting their choices and you’ll be one of them. You’re a creative person and you don’t like being restricted by facts and formulae. So maths and physics will prove troublesome, heightened by the fact that they are both very demanding and will require a lot of work outside of lessons. You’ll regret physics within the first week, so have the confidence to speak up about it. Don’t leave it until Christmas, when you’ll be half a year behind in assignments.
Looking back, I would definitely do some things differently. So here’s my final advice to you: explore more options, really think about what you want to do and don’t be afraid to speak up. But most importantly, work hard and manage your time. This is not something you can go into half-heartedly.
Good luck! From your two-years-older self
This is a guest contribution by Dan French, who’s currently studying his A-levels and aspires to be a graphic designer. All opinions are Dan’s own, not necessarily those of Which?
If you’ve already taken your A-levels, what would you say to your younger self?