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Types of college explained

college chairsDo you know the difference between a sixth form, further education or specialist college? Read on to find out.

Each type of college institution has its own structure and atmosphere, and will offer a different range of subjects and courses. Discover just some of the differences below.

Sixth forms

You may be able to study at your own school’s sixth form, the sixth form of another school, or at a sixth form college. They offer a wider range of options than you’ve probably had at school, and the environment is usually more relaxed than in Year 11.

Sixth forms vary a lot in size, and in the courses and facilities they offer. Sixth form colleges tend to be larger and more informal than school sixth forms.

Further education (FE) college

Further education colleges can offer similar courses to sixth form colleges. They also vary a lot in size, and in the subjects and facilities they offer.

The biggest difference is that your fellow students may include adults of all ages as well as young people.

Specialist colleges

Some further education colleges specialise in particular areas:

  • subject areas such as art and design, agriculture and horticulture, or dance and drama.
  • courses and support for students with a particular disability or learning difficulty.

Going to a specialist college may involve a lot of travelling. If it’s a long way from home, you may need to live there during term time. If so, you might qualify for financial help.

However, some courses are only available to people over the age of 18.

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