With the end of the 2023/2024 academic year drawing ever closer, teens and young adults around the UK are left with many decisions to make in regards to their future in the academic system, or the working world.

For many, university is what they have their sights set on. According to UCAS’s reports, there were 761,740 university applicants in 2022, a number which is increasing year on year.

There is a wide range of universities with varying entry requirements; from Russell Group Universities to unaccredited institutions of higher education with slightly more forgiving entry requirements. The BBC states 35.6% of applications were successful amongst 18 year-olds across all universities. 

The variety of university courses on offer is ever increasing, Contemporary Circus with Physical Theatre (Bath Spa University) and Ethical Hacking (Coventry or Abertay University) are notably some of the most unique new courses.

It is highly recommended to attend university open days that are taking place over the next few months; it is a perfect way to get a feel for your short-listed courses and what student life is like at the universities that spark your interest.

Undoubtedly, university is certainly not preferable for all young people. Many other post-college options exist, such as apprenticeships, gap years, work experience or HTQ’s - a new post-college option. According to the UK Government website HTQ’s are “a high-quality alternative to a traditional 3-year degree and degree apprenticeship.

They are new and existing level 4/5 qualifications that provide the skills needed by employers”. HTQ’s such as, Health and Science, Business and Administration, and Early Years will be available for applicants from September 2024 to provide a degree equivalent, especially suiting those who have just completed T Levels. 

There are many great resources, notably the UCAS website that delve deeper into each option for post-college work or education, hopefully making the life-changing decisions young people are currently facing just that bit easier. 

  • This article was written by Sofia Thompson, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter Scheme.