A Level Choices: Don’t Shut Down Your Future

Consumer group, ‘Which?’ have revealed that nearly a third of 18-19 year-olds wish they had chosen different subjects for A level. The survey of 1,000 university applicants also showed that 41% wish they had given more consideration to which subjects would be of most use to them. The research, which was undertaken by Youth Sight back in January, also showed that over half of the teenagers didn’t realise how the subjects they had chosen would affect their choice of degree and university. So, what is going wrong, and how can you make sure you make the right choices at 16?

It would appear that, when it comes to going to university, not A levels are equal, with some institutions not considering some subjects challenging enough, while some degrees require students to have studied certain subjects.

Which? reported that 30% of the students did not realise that the choices they made at 16 would have such an impact on their future prospects.

It seems that it is all a matter of making sure you get the right information before making your choices for post-16 education. Whether you are planning to go to university, want to look for an apprenticeship, find a job, or are not sure, the last thing you will want to do is shut down your options without realising it by taking the wrong subjects.

It is important to get as much advice on this as you can, so be sure to speak with your teachers before making any final choices.

Choosing your A levels is easier if you have a fairly clear idea of what you want to do next, but if you are unsure it can be tricky to know what is best for you and your future career. While it is always a good idea to look at subjects you enjoy and are good at (especially since A levels are a step up form GCSE), there are certain subjects that offer a broader range of options for the future. These subjects are called ‘facilitating’ subjects, and according to a 2011 list, they include:



English literature




modern and classical languages

maths and further maths

While you may be concerned about making the wrong choices at A level, don’t forget that there are different routes to the same career. University is an option for many, but you may be surprised at the range of apprenticeships that can take you into careers that were previously only accessible to university graduates. You can have a successful career without a degree,

For those of you who are considering what subjects to take, remember that a lot can change in two years, so it is perhaps a good idea to make sure you give yourself a little room for movement with your choices.

Finally, if you are planning on taking A levels, you might also want to check out our advice for how to be successful at sixth form!

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