Information for learners

A group of National Star College students relaxing in the Lounge

We know that choosing the right college and course can be a bit scary. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help. We recommend really knowing what you want to do and carefully considering all of your options. Importantly, never give up on the college or course that’s right for you! For some help, call our friendly Admissions team on 01242 534928.

Here are some tips for choosing the right college and course:

1. Work out what you want to do after college – this will help you pick the right course! When you’ve found a college that interests you, take a look at their website to see if they have any stories about what learners are doing after their course.

2. Do you think mainstream or specialist provision will work best for you? You may have had good and bad experiences with both, but it is always worth taking the time to look around at all of your options.

3. Work out what’s really important to you before making any visits. For example, are you concerned the college may not be able to support your health requirements? Are you worried about benefits issues? Write all of these points down, and take them with you when you go to see a potential college.

4. Work out what’s important to you in terms of your peer group. Many of the learners at National Star College say that here they can just be themselves, make friends and socialise – without their disability being a key thing that defines them.

5. Carers, teachers, careers advisors, parents, independent supporters and advocates are all people who will be able to point you in the right direction. They will be able to show you local and also specialist residential options. We have a great admissions team who are really happy to answer any questions and also help you liaise with the right people. Get in touch with them by calling 01242 534928.

6. What happens if you have chosen a college and are told you can’t go there? Firstly, you need to be clear about why you want to go to that college and how what they’re offering will help you achieve your goals. If the college is a further education college, a sixth form, offers work based learning or is an independent specialist college (approved on the Section 41 list – like National Star College) you can attend that college unless the Local Authority feels it is too expensive and you won’t get good outcomes. If you need help on funding, please contact our Admissions teams on 01242 534928 – they have supported lots of people through the funding process and can offer loads of helpful support.

The most important things are: be clear about what you want to do, consider all of your options and, above all, don’t give up on getting the college / course that’s right for you!

Finally, have a look at this guide from Natspec for further information about moving into further education.