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Applying for college – frequently asked questions

Vocational study programmes are related to areas of work like Engineering or Health Care and are excellent if you know what kind of career you want. There’s usually more emphasis on coursework than exams and it’s often about learning practical skills that you can apply to the working world. You can go to university after studying a Vocational course.

A Levels tend to be a little more like GCSEs as they can be more exam based with more of a focus on theory. You will select three or four choices from a much wider range of subjects including options like English, Maths, Sciences, Film Studies, French or Art. Studying A Levels means that you can keep your options open if you want to go to university but aren’t sure what career to follow. Also, for some careers, like medicine, A Levels may be your only route.

It’s all about you; think about your style of learning and how you prefer to do things. If you like practical tasks then you might look at a Vocational course, but if you prefer facts and exams, then A Levels might be for you.

Apprenticeships are a great way to start or develop a career whilst improving your prospects of finding a job in the industry you have chosen by doing a real job for a real employer.

You can get an Apprenticeship in a wide range of industries like Accountancy, Agriculture, Business Administration, Construction, Engineering, Hair and Beauty and Horticulture, plus many more.

As an Apprentice you will learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time. You will work towards a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and tend to spend four days working with an employer and one day a week in College gaining your qualification.

Getting an Apprenticeship is like getting a job. You could be interviewed a few times and even asked to take tests to see if you’re the right person. It would be a good idea to contact a number of employers to keep your options open – so don’t get disheartened. Remember, be prepared to sell yourself and convince others that an Apprenticeship is right for you.

You can apply for apprenticeship vacancies using the National Apprenticeship website www.apprenticeships.org.uk

T Levels are courses for 16 to 18 year olds that are studied at the same level as doing A Levels. They are for young people who prefer a more technical education when they come to College, rather than following a purely academic pathway, or a work-based apprenticeship.

T Levels provide a mixture of:

  • Technical knowledge and practical skills specific to the student’s chosen industry or occupation.
  • An industry placement of at least 45 days in their chosen industry or occupation. Watch this short Government video to hear why students find completing industry placements so beneficial.
  • Relevant Maths, English and digital skills.
  • Common workplace skills.

Students who achieve a T Level will get a nationally recognised certificate which employers will use as evidence in their recruitment.

T Levels will offer students a mixture of classroom or workshop-based learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience.

More information can be found on our T Levels page.

Please visit our How To Apply page for information on how to make an application to college.

If you have any problems or are unsure how to apply online please contact your School Careers Teacher or College Information Adviser. You can also contact our Admissions Team by telephone on: +44 (0)1226 216 106 or by email: interviews@barnsley.ac.uk

You will be contacted by Barnsley College inviting you in for an informal interview for each subject area that you are interested in. If you’re unable to attend, or miss an appointment, please contact Admissions or email interviews@barnsley.ac.uk to arrange another appointment.

Don’t worry, if you haven’t attended your first interview you can discuss your options at this point. Alternatively, if you change your mind after the interviews have been arranged all your details are held on our computer and we can easily make changes – there’s no need to complete another Application Form. Please contact Admissions or email interviews@barnsley.ac.uk.

Please bring with you any information you have which will help us give you the best possible individual advice and guidance. This may include a recent school report, work experience or evidence of predicted/actual grades and recent school attendance report.

At each subject area interview you will receive a letter stating the outcome. You will either have an Unconditional Offer, Conditional Offer or be Referred.

  • Unconditional Offer means you have already met the entry requirements for the study programme and have a confirmed place.
  • Conditional Offer means you have a place on the study programme, subject to achieving the entry requirements e.g. getting the right GCSEs, or passing any entry assessments.
  • Referred means you have been referred to an alternative, more suitable subject.

An enrolment pack will be sent to you at the beginning of August. This will contain all you need to know about enrolling to college. You will need to come and enrol at the end of August so please avoid booking holidays around this time.

Enrolment is where you officially sign-up for your course and is usually held at the end of August after you have received your GCSE results. You will meet your tutors, fill in all the necessary paperwork and get your student card.

Don’t panic! Contact our Information Team and they can help you with your next step. You can also look on the website for details of when you can come in to college to an Advice and Guidance session for students who are unsure about their plans and/or disappointed with their GCSE results. The Information Team can be contacted by telephone: +44 (0)1226 216 123 or email info@barnsley.ac.uk

If you are aged 18 or under you will not have to pay any tuition fees for most college full time study programmes.

If you are aged 19 or over, please see our Paying for your course

Please see our Student Travel page.

Please see our Childcare Funding Support page.

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