College Advice Team

Advice and Guidance for School Leavers

We understand that making decisions about your future can feel a little overwhelming. Our College Advice Team are trained in information, advice and guidance and work in schools across the South West giving face to face advice and guidance about all courses and opportunities for school leavers at Exeter College!

The College Advice Team regularly visit a number of different schools, so if you would like to meet with the team to discuss your options at Exeter College then please speak to your school Careers Coordinator to find out if they will be able to arrange an appointment. If we aren’t available in your school then don’t worry,  you can still contact us by phone on 01392 400600 or email us at

How to make a decision about your next steps

Here are some hints and tips that we hope will make the process of choosing your options for College a little easier for you:

  • Think about what you enjoy: Consider your hobbies, favourite subjects at school, work experience or part time job.
  • Talk to family, friends and your teachers: Though this is your decision, it’s a good idea to talk things through with the people who know you best.
  • What are your strengths? Think about your predicted grades and the subjects you’re doing well in at school. Have your teachers recommended that you study any subjects further?
  • Future plans: Are you considering university? Have you got a future career in mind? If so, it’s important to select a course which will ensure these options remain available to you. If you’re still not sure about your future plans it’s a good idea to pick something that really interests you and that keeps your options open.

Frequently asked questions

For answers to some frequently answered questions please see below.

What level should I study at?

For school leavers we offer courses from Entry Level to Level 3, and the level you will study at College will be determined by your GCSE results. We will ask you to include your predicted or target grades on your application form, and we will use these as a guide to make sure you are offered the right level of course for you. Your College offer is conditional upon your GCSE results, so the level of course you study at will be finalised when you enrol at College after you have received your results. When researching courses in the College course guide or on the College website you will see the entry requirements listed clearly on each course. Be sure to check these and make sure you are on track to achieve the grades required for your chosen course.

We recommend that you begin researching our courses using the College website, or college course guide. Another great way of finding out more about your course options is our Open Events. We usually run open events in October, November, January and April. Some course pages include videos with additional details about the subjects.

We offer a wide range of courses from Entry Level to Level 3, including A Levels and vocational and technical qualifications. Students who choose to study an A Level programme will ordinarily study 3 different subjects, with their programme of study being made up of either 3 A Levels, or 2 A Levels and a BTEC certificate. Level 3 BTEC Certificates are each equivalent to one A Level choice, so can be studied as part of an A Level programme. We are flexible about the
A Levels and BTEC Certificates you can combine together, meaning you have the freedom to put together a programme of qualifications which really suits your strengths, interests and aspirations for the future. All of our other vocational and professional qualifications, including BTECs, UAL Diplomas and other vocational courses such as T Levels, are full time study options which cannot be combined with other courses.

You can apply to us during the academic year prior to the September you wish to join, which for most students will be during year 11. We accept applications all the way through the year, however we recommend that students apply by the end of January if possible, in order to secure an early interview and College offer. You can easily apply online through the College website. In order to apply online you will need to create an account, which will allow you to manage your application and keep your information up to date. When registering online, we recommend that you use a personal email address rather than a school address, as we will use this address to contact you during the summer holidays and right up to the start of your course. For further help with completing your application, please watch this handy guide.

All students will have a College interview in order to secure an offer of a place on a course. This is a really important part of our process as it helps to ensure you are supported to find the right course for you. We interview regularly throughout the year, and we will be in touch shortly after we receive your application to confirm the details of your interview.

Exeter College holds several Open Events every year. Our Open Events usually run in October, November, January and April. You can register here to keep updated with these events.

When researching our courses on the College website or in the College course guide you will find that each course listing features a section about what the course can lead on to. On completion of an Entry Level, Level 1 or Level 2 course then you may be able to progress to the next level of course at College. Level 3 qualifications, including A Levels and full time vocational and technical qualifications, allow students to progress to university, an Apprenticeship or employment.

We also offer our own higher education courses at Exeter College which are a great progression route from a number of our courses.

There are lots of useful websites which you can use to research your future career plans, and which can help you to ensure that you choose the right course or courses at College. The National Careers Service and Careerpilot are two good examples. You can use their job search tools to research different careers, and check the entry requirements section of the job profiles to make sure you are choosing the right courses at College. If you’re planning to go to university then we recommend that you use the UCAS website to research university degrees and their entry requirements. For some degrees it will be essential that you have studied certain subjects at College, so it’s important that you do your research now to make sure you are choosing the right courses for your future.

Don’t worry, the College Advice Team are here to help! We are available all year round to support you to make the right choices. Contact us on 01392 400600 or

Useful Resources

We understand that making decisions about your future can be daunting and that you need to research your options in detail. Below are some resources we’ve created or compiled to assist you in making informed decisions about your future studies.

student looking at a teacher in class

How to decide leaflet

This leaflet contains useful tips on choosing the right course for you as well as information about the types and levels of courses on offer. On the reverse we have listed some handy websites for you to carry out research into careers, higher education and Apprenticeships.

Introduction to Exeter College

This presentation aims to give you a brief introduction to your options at Exeter College, so whether you’re beginning your decision-making process or you’re a school leaver looking to finalise your decision, watch this presentation to find out more about the options available to you at Exeter College. 

Useful Careers research websites

Careers Pilot:
A wealth of useful further education/ careers information.

National Careers Service:
Offering a range of careers information through their explore careers tool.

Pathways Explore allows you to search over 800 different careers or browse by job sector.
Related courses that are on offer at Exeter College are highlighted and you can continue to our course pages. 

Find out about higher education course options., including entry requirements, course content and more.

Advice on university options and a wealth of careers information including job profiles