5 Top tips for 4th, 5th, and 6th-year students and their families planning ahead


4th year sees you working toward your first set of SQA qualifications, the result of which will influence your future work and study options. 5th year sees the reality of last year’s exams kick in; with your first set of results now under your belt, you will have a clearer picture of how hard you will have to work to achieve more grades at Higher level. It’s a tough time and can feel overwhelming. Hopefully you will feel that you have had good support from school to help you make your course choices and have settled into the new school year comfortably. Here are some top tips for you this year. Do be aware, of course, that entry requirements to universities and training programmes may change before you actually apply. Keep an eye on these.

1. If you are considering university in the future start researching now. Look up university websites and search for Open Days. You can book in throughout the year to visit some and learn about the application process and get a feel for what university life might be like.

2. UCAS: http://www.ucas.com is the organisation at the heart of connecting people to higher education. You generally apply to university through this body. You can sign up to student and parent e-mails on their website and learn lots this year about the things you will have to decide and the timings of when you are in 5th or 6th year. It’s quite helpful to give yourself a trial year to see what types of decisions have to be made.

3. Follow a variety of universities, colleges and employers on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This will give you a regular opportunity to learn more about them and often the work experience opportunities or open days that they run.

4. If you begin to regret a course choice decision or are struggling with a subject, speak to your Pupil Support Teacher — every member of staff wants to help you achieve as much as you can. They sooner they know of a problem, the better.

5. Consider joining after school clubs to add more strings to your bow. When you apply to university, college or an employer you are in competition with hundreds of others for an opportunity. Imagine if you were neck in neck with grades on an application – what other skills or experience would make you stand out. Balance sport with music, art or debating. Sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme. There are many opportunities in our school, so speak to your Pupil Support Teacher for some guidance.

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