MakeYOURchoice about the future . . .
MERSEYSIDE students are facing some of the toughest choices of their lives over the next two weeks as they receive their A-level and GCSE results.
For those doing A-levels,it could mean a move from home to university. Or they might decide to apply for jobs or workplace learning.
Meanwhile GCSE students now have to decide whether they want to continue into sixth form,go to college, or consider a modern apprenticeship and earn while they learn.
In the run-up to both results days the ECHO is publishing a guide to all your choices and sharing the experiences of those who have already made their decisions.
Education reporter CLAIRE STOKER reports.
THE relief of getting your A-level results is often quickly replaced with a dilemma... what to do next.
While many young people will already have a place at university lined up, others may find their results are better than expected and perhaps university is now a realistic option.
Deciding whether to opt for a further three or even four years of study is a tough one and student debt is a sad reality.
There are plenty of courses available, both full-time and part-time, and there are also opportunities to earn while you learn with foundation degrees.
For those whose grades are not what was expected, the most important thing to remember is to not panic.
The first thing to do is ring the institution and explain your situation. You may still be accepted.
If not,check with your insurance offer. If you still have no luck,consider the clearing system where universities offer their remaining places. Visit the aim higher web site for a step-by-step guide.
Graham Kelly,head of school relations at the University of Liverpool, believes there are many reasons why university is an excellent option.
He says: ``You can take further study in a subject you particularly like and you will enjoy the experience because it is a lot of fun.
``Students also get a lot of personal development by developing useful key skills like communication which will be useful to later working life.
``There's clear evidence that students with degrees can earn much more money during their lifetime -up to pounds 500,000 more than students without a degree -so there's a very good financial incentive too.''
Over 90% of students at Liverpool John Moores University had graduate jobs or went on to further study six months after finishing their courses.
But JMU's Anthony Cond says: ``It's more than just a way of improving your employment prospects. Universities are also thriving social communities.
``Figures like Steven Spielberg and Phil Redmond have delivered lectures at Liverpool John Moores University and university teaching staff are involved in a range of cutting edge research.
``If you want to learn more, get your career off to a flying start and make friends for life, university is the route for you.''
Useful websites: www.ucas.com -for full details on where and how to apply for higher education.
www.aimhigher.gov.uk-explaining the full benefits of higher education.
www.dfes.gov.uk/student support -for useful financial advice on funding your degree.
Useful phone numbers: University of Liverpool help line -0151 794 6800.
Liverpool John Moores University help line -0500 564565 Edge Hill College of Higher Education -0800 028 6677 Liverpool Hope University College -0151 291 3000 Liverpool Institute for Peforming Arts -0151 330 3000
TOMORROW: advice on how to take a year out
Jenny loves university
WHILE many of her friends decided to leave school at 18, Jennifer Davies was deter-mined to go to university. Jennifer,19,left Croxteth comprehensive last July with 10 GCSEs,A-levels inEnglish literature,business and art and an AS- level in graphics.
She said: ``I always wanted to go to university because I want to do well and make sure I got a decent job I will enjoy.''
Jennifer has a daughter,Emily, two, so she wanted to go to a university close to her Norris Green home.
``My school arranged for us to spend a week at Edge Hill College in Ormskirk and I went to open days at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University College.
``I applied to six universities when I was in year 13 at Croxtethand it is really important to study lots of prospectuses very carefully.
``I didn't really know what I wanted to study at university. but I enjoyed business and English so found a course at Liverpool Hope that combined the two and the business section at Hope is really successful.''
Jennifer says she was very nervous during her first week at university. but quickly settled into a routine of lectures, tutorials and seminars.
But she added: ``I knew a few people there but it is very different to school.''
Now,after completing her first year, Jennifer is enjoying herself.
A greeting in the ECHO is a great way to say congratulations for passing exams. All messages will also be printed in the Liverpool Weekly News Group, theMerseymart and Star series,and appear on the icLiverpool website. For details call 0151 227 3691 from Monday to Friday, 7.30am to 8pm or Saturday,8.30am to 12.30pm
A-LEVELJOY: But after the results, students face decisions which can shape the rest of their lives