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Missing Out on the College Experience

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
College Apprenticeship Young People

So the big question is whether or not doing an apprenticeship means you miss out on the ‘rite of passage’ that is going to college.

For many people that flourish during their apprenticeship, the idea of going to college after school fills them with dread. Perhaps they didn’t suit the school environment, had issues with bullying or felt out of their depth with certain subjects.

For others, an apprenticeship is a good way to bridge the gap between leaving school and becoming a fully fledged adult.

But do young people need or benefit from that period of time after leaving school, whether that’s GCSEs or A Levels, but before entering the workplace where they can continue to explore themselves and take the opportunity to get involved in clubs, societies and groups that will broaden their mind?

What is the College Experience?

So what can you learn or experience at college that you can’t get anywhere else? Perhaps the main thing is that you’re likely to be living away from home, but in a sort of ‘half way house’ of supervised accommodation, such as halls of residence. As long as you find at least one person that’s on your wavelength (and pretty much everyone does) then the experience of living in halls is brilliant. Young people learn a little bit about paying bills, buying food, cooking and cleaning, but without the ‘real life’ responsibilities of actually having to run a home.

Being at college also means you have to learn about self discipline, such as getting to lectures on time and managing your work load. You also learn how to get on with different types of people without having teachers or parents there to make it better/worse. It’s a growing-up experience with stabilisers on.

Who Doesn’t Suit Going to College

Even though the college experience is excellent for many, many young people, it’s important to remember that it really doesn’t suit everyone. Whether its university or a further education college, some young people find that it’s simply too much like school, or it’s too free, or too structured, or just not what they were expecting.

Bear in mind that it’s not necessarily that college is not right for you, but perhaps that a certain college is not right for you. It’s certainly possible that your local college, or a college that’s further a field and specialises in a subject you’re interested in is not a good match for your character. It is imperative that you attend an open day prior to committing to attending a particular college because you usually get a feel for a place very quickly.

What Do You Miss Out On?

Starting an apprenticeship straight after school rather than going to college can have all manner of pros and cons. Most young people that are considering this option are especially keen to get earning some money as soon as possible. In this instance, it’s worth noting that you don’t get paid very much as an apprentice, not as much as a ‘grown up’ in the same job. Many young people are ready to get out of the school environment, too, but remember that the majority of apprenticeships involve at least a couple of days each month studying at a local college. While this may sound positive, if you do not want to go back into a teaching situation, this may not be suitable.

Young people that start an apprenticeship may be concerned that they will miss out on the ‘adventure’ of college, or the bonding experience of being with people your own age, but the reality is that an apprenticeship can be the best of both worlds.

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