Friends & family

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Choosing between school, college and university can be scary, and we know our applicants often rely on advice from friends and family. 

Who should decide?

It's not unusual for families to be divided when it comes to choosing between further education or starting full time employment. However, whatever they decide to do, it's important they (your son, daughter or friend) have the final decision in what they do. After all, following a particular path just to make their family proud or to conform with friends may mean they struggle to apply themselves to their full potential in the long run.

“ Nearly everyone in my year was planning to go to university. It was unusual not to go to university after 6th form where I studied, unless you didn’t get your grades… even then people tried to re-sit any exams so they could go straight to university. I felt like I needed more time to decide- so I deferred my place at University and took a gap year.” ”

Jack, Nationwide Higher Apprentice

That doesn't mean that the decision process can't be collaborative - and in some cases you may find that there's a compromise, such as paid on the job learning like an Apprenticeship scheme.

Think about career progression

A good place to start would be to talk to them about their long term goals. By identifying what truly drives them, you can help them start to prioritise their long term career expectations. While some professions require a degree, others may be more attainable if they've built up their previous experience. 

“ Now I’m a Commercial Specialist, and my work is focused on ‘Risk’ within Nationwide. I’ve gained an NVQ in Business Administration, and I’m also studying for another professional qualification through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. ”

Rebecca, previous Nationwide Advanced Apprentice

If they do decide to go to university, many companies (including Nationwide) now offer industrial placements.  Industrial placements can be a great way of applying theories learned at university into practice, before going back to complete their degree in their final year. What's more, industrial placements are paid - and can be a great way to assess whether they still want to pursue their original career aspirations.

Finally, help them do their research

Researching all options fully may surprise you both - in addition to school and college open days, you may want to visit employer open days. If you can, try and find out what existing students have to say. If they're considering work experience, an apprenticeship or even an internship, then take a look at the careers site to see if there are any employee testimonials to give you a feel of what it's really like.