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How is college different to school?

We spend so much time in school from a young age, so to consider leaving that environment is both exciting and daunting. College is very different from school in many ways and if you are ready for a change or seeking a fresh start, this could be the best decision you make!

More freedom

College is a pretty relaxed environment where students can come and go as they please. Obviously, there is still a timetable to follow and students need to attend their lessons, but come breaks or lunch, students are free to leave the site or chill out in the student social spaces with their friends. Alternatively, if you are really dedicated you can even come to college to study when you don’t have any timetabled lessons!

Most timetables run over three days, meaning you have a lot more free time than when you were at school. A lot of the time, you won’t be in a classroom but you’ll be working in our on-site garages, workshops and salons. This means that there is more emphasis on self-study. You can choose where and when you study best, whether that’s at home, with friends or in the study hub at college.

A lot of the time you spend at college, you can wear your own clothes. Professional uniforms are worn in our workshops, salons, garages and in the air cabin room, which helps you to understand professional standards and meets health and safety regulations.

Relaxed environment

It takes some getting used to, but as of the day you become a college student you can forget calling a teacher Sir or Miss. First names only. Students are treated as equals and respect goes both ways from the start.

As mentioned the timetable is lighter, meaning you’ll only be in lessons 3 days a week, though it can also be quite varied. Many of the courses studied at college are vocational and more hands-on, in some cases, you might even carry out tasks for real clients.

Not only is the timetable lighter, but you might find your lessons don’t begin until 12pm, meaning you can sleep in! Granted this isn’t always the case, but it’s a definite bonus if this happens to you. The flexibility of college gives you time to start a part-time job if you want to. As long as your job doesn’t impact on your college work and you still get all your studying done, we’re happy to see students succeeding in employment, gaining skills and experience.

Many of our students comment on how chilled out college is. Most students get along with each other and if they don’t, then they just don’t hang out. It’s no big deal like it might have been in school where you get so many student cliques. At college, there is more diversity and students are accepted for who they are. Whether you’re trans, gay, emo, Barbie, plain, weird or wonderful, everyone is welcome!

Focussed

College is all about getting you trained for employment. Vocational courses are designed in collaboration with employers and companies, so when you leave you can shine above all the other candidates, as you show off your skills, maturity and professionalism.

When you choose to study at college, you choose one course to focus on and become an expert in. Your tutors are experts in their field and many of whom come from industry backgrounds. They carry a wealth of knowledge and experience which they are eager to pass onto you. As part of your course, you’ll also have opportunities to meet employers, undertake relevant work experience and go on tours or visits to places of interest. You’ll find that students who study at college do so because they want to be there. It’s not like school where you have to attend. I mean, you attend or you won’t pass, but the onus is very much on you to come in and take part.

The extras

In addition to just being a cool place to study, college also offers a ton of extra-curricular activities which you choose to get involved with if you want to. This includes student competitions and trips to fun places, such as Thorpe Park or Comic Con.

If you are keen to get involved you could even nominate yourself to become a Students’ Union Officer or Class Rep, leading on class and college initiatives and looking after the voice of students on campus.

Decision time

Choosing to leave school and come to college is a massive decision and will likely take you out of your comfort zone. Just remember: everyone is in the same boat when they start college. It’s a chance for you to have a fresh start and really focus on what’s important to you. Don’t let fear be your downfall. “Do not fear to step into the unknown, for where there is risk, there is also reward” -  (Lori Hard)