Should our career concerns influence our A-level choices?
With the graduate job market becoming ever more competitive, concerns about getting the best qualifications are spilling back to even the pre-university years…
With the graduate job market becoming ever more competitive, concerns about getting the best qualifications are spilling back to even the pre-university years, making people increasingly cautious about what A-levels to choose. But should you be letting your hopes for the future stop you making the most of your time in education? The short answer, of course, is no.
Skills over facts
In an increasingly syllabus-focused exam system, it is easy to overlook the fact that on top of all the facts, figures, quotes and dates you have to learn, what you are really developing are the skills and techniques which support you throughout your adult life. You may not use your basic French again, but you certainly will have to come up with convincing answers to unprepared questions around a topic with which you are not completely comfortable – indeed, this may be what you spend all of your working life doing. So as you think about the topics you would like to study, take a moment to consider not what you will need to learn, but how you will need to learn.
Pursuing your passions
It is important that you don’t see your education as a means to an end. Study should be for study’s sake, and will make you a much more rounded and appealing individual than if you see even your earliest qualification simply as hoops to jump through. Lord Sumption has famously stated that you will make a better lawyer if you come from a degree other than law as you will have a more rounded body of knowledge. Obviously, in the case of certain vocational subjects such as medicine, specific A-levels will be required, but the subjects tackled in your school years should be enjoyed in and of themselves if you are to get the most out of them in the future.
One thing at a time
To view the purpose of education as nothing more than preparing you for a career is to imagine it as even more of a process than the exam system would suggest. Whatever you opt to study, you will pick up invaluable skills which will be the grounding of whatever it is you go on to do, whether you are already sure of that at sixteen, or whether you don’t work it out until you’re thirty-five. The key is identifying the skills that make you in particular stand out and building them as much as you can through whatever studies you pursue. So for now, the best way to get the most out of your A-levels is to choose the subjects you want to do.
The above article was written in collaboration with Bright Young Things (http://brightyoungthings.co.uk/). Bright Young Things provides academic tuition for clients in London, the UK and across the globe. Both in our tuition centres and one-on-one tutoring