Only you can be sure if going to college is right for you at this point in your life. There are many things to consider before you commit to a college course and you should arm yourself with the relevant knowledge and advice you need before making a decision. Although you may be supported and be given advice and information by people in your life in helping you to make a decision, it is ultimately your decision. Everyone needs supportive relationships throughout their life, especially during times of transitions/changes in your life.Whether you have a support system helping you decide the next chapter in your life or you are just considering college as an option, there is a lot of support and guidance available to you in making your decision. Whether you disclose your care experience is up to you and is a personal choice, you may feel that you do not want to label yourself which is understandable. However, if you do disclose your care experience you will be given all the practical and financial support you are entitled to.
It has been well documented in research that people with care experience have lower education attainment levels than their peers. This is for many reasons but a lack of supportive and encouraging influences and low expectations of care experienced people in general may contribute to this. Although your care experience may mean that you need more support and an empathic understanding of your needs, your care experience does not hinder your ability or your aspirations in life, if you are given the support and advice you need. Your life experience is valuable and an important part of who you are and is something you should embrace – you may have been through some traumatic experiences and faced difficulties in your life and yet you are here! You are more capable than you think. Colleges and Universities in Scotland are corporate parents – which means that they have a special responsibility for care experienced people. Colleges are well aware of some of the barriers facing people with care experience and have implemented many provisions to help support you in starting and completing your studies. Depending on your circumstances – you may have a pathways plan and a pathways co-ordinator. Your local authority has a duty to support you practically and financially during your studies. You should ask for your pathways plan to be updated to best support you in this decision.
If you know what college you are interested in you can contact them and ask to meet with their care experienced young person advisor – when and how much support you receive is up to you and they can support you to make your transition to college as worry-free and as enjoyable as possible. There are some important things you should find out before you apply for your course:
The deadline for applying,
The answer to these questions will vary depending on what college you apply for and what course(s) you are taking. Some colleges offer weekend and evening course and they can be part-time or full-time. You should be able to find all of this information on the college website or by contacting them directly.
You can find a list of colleges in Scotland here.
You may be entitled to financial support through a bursary for people with care experience, you can find information about the bursary, accommodation grant and other resources available to you here.
For further advice in applying for college, help with your interview and much more can be accessed here.
Happiness and success can be found in many different ways. Sometimes it can seem like formal education is the only route, but that is not true. No route is automatically better than the other, the thing that matters most is that it fits you and your life. Here you will find some guidance and advice on other options that you may want to consider
Thinking about going to university and starting your university journey is an exciting time. It can also be a confusing time with all the information and options available to you. Whether you have just left school or college or you have been out of education for a while, there is a lot of support and resources out there to best help you make a decision.