Top Tips on Choosing Your Sixth Form

Choosing your Sixth Form is a very important decision to make, as it can affect your university options and your future career. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you spend some time to review all of your available options and identify the best Sixth Form to provide your first step to a successful future.

Here are some of the key considerations when choosing your Sixth Form:

Subject options

Not all Sixth Form colleges offer the same set of subjects and if you know which course you want to study at university, you should check the requirements to ensure that your Sixth Form choice offers the subjects that match the requirements. It is also a good idea to gain a good understanding of what each subject involves before you select it and the types of careers that qualifications in the subject areas generally lead into. Information evenings will help you to find out more about the subjects.

Leavers’ destinations

If you have a specific type of career or university plan, then it may help to find out where the Sixth Form leavers go onto. For example, if you have your heart set on going to Cambridge but the Sixth Form has never had anyone go onto Oxbridge, then you might want to reconsider your choice. You need a Sixth Form that is able to help you to fulfil your goals and ambitions.

Class sizes

Generally speaking, Sixth Form classes tend to be smaller than high school classes because students require more attention and interaction with teachers. Schools like Gateways already guarantee small class sizes throughout the school, ensuring that the extra attention is always provided, especially within Sixth Form with the average class size being as low as 4 or 5 ensuring a great learning experience and plenty of individual attention from the teacher. When you are choosing a Sixth Form, find out how big the classes typically are, as larger classes can slow progression or mean that some individuals may feel overwhelmed.

Success rates

Exam success rates are good indications of the quality of teaching and the capability of the school/college on a whole. Find out the most recent exam results to see whether they match your own aspirations. Sometimes picking the highest performing college is not the right option if it means that you might struggle to keep up in lessons, so match your ability to the success rates of the Sixth Form. If you are performing at the top of your class, you need a Sixth Form that will push you to achieve your full potential.


Some Sixth Form colleges provide an excellent extra-curricular programme and plenty of opportunities for trips and visit and some offer very little. Extra-curricular activities can help you to enjoy being part of a college, help you to socialise more and keep you fit and healthy. If you are looking for a career in sport, music, drama or art then being involved in extra-curricular activities can boost your skills and experience. Many universities and employers will also look at your extra-curricular interests to decide whether you are a good fit for them.

It can be tempting to choose your Sixth Form based on location and where your friends are going but this could be detrimental to your future prospects. Do your research and choose the Sixth Form that is the right fit for you and will help you achieve your goals.

See what one of our Sixth Formers has to say about Gateways.