A Parents’ Guide to A Levels*

*This is a collaborative post*

Having a great understand of A Levels, what they are, how they are graded, what’s involved etc, is the first step to supporting your child on the next step in their academic journey. After all, it will be difficult for you to offer your advice and suggestions if you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Good A Level qualifications provide a gateway for students into universities and will bring your child one step close to securing a good job once they have left education. I have teamed up with a Sixth Form college in Hampshire to share some information on A Levels so that you feel more prepared to help your teenage son or daughter.

Find some time to sit down and have a serious chat with your child about what they’d like to do once they have left school. If they have a dream job in mind, it will be easier for them to pick their A Level subjects because there will be certain qualifications they have to acquire in order to find work in their desired industry. For instance, if they are interested in building websites for a living, then computer science or a coding qualification will be necessary. If they want to become a vet, then science-based subjects will be required. Different universities will have different entry requirements, so have a look into these as well.

If your child is not sure what they’d like to do when they leave school, they should think about which subjects they might enjoy or be good at. If they love to read or write, English literature might be a good option for them. If they love taking photos or videos, then they should consider photography or media studies. If they’re not interested in going to university and would prefer to delve straight into the world at work, then an apprenticeship might be a better option than A Levels because this will give them a foot in the door and help them work on their CV. 

Chat about all of their different options and speak to your child’s teachers for some more advice should you need it. There will most likely be open evenings that you can attend and ask any questions you may have.

For those who do choose to study A Levels, it’s important to note that this will be quite the challenge when compared to GCSEs. It’s a big jump, because A Levels are far more in-depth and will require a lot of independent study. Most students choose four subjects for the first year and then drop one for the second year, so they have more time to focus on those subjects. As a result, they end up with one AS level qualification and three full A levels. Make sure you are there for your child should they wish to vent to you during this time, as it will likely be quite a stressful experience for them. However, it is certainly worth it in the long run, as long as it aligns with your child’s future plans.

*Photo source Pexels

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