NPTC: Setting you off on the path to university

With 12 cutting-edge campuses across some of the most stunning locations in Wales, the Neath Port Talbot College Group (NPTC) cultivates student success. Known as one of the nation’s largest education providers, NPTC consistently outperforms its regional counterparts, earning a reputation for being the nation’s most distinguished further education institution in the country.

“We have very high aspirations for all of our students and have built our reputation on our outstanding results year after year,” says Mark Dacey, CEO of NPTC. “…As NPTC continues to go from strength to strength, there has never been a better time to study with us.”

“Not only do we have a wide range of courses for international students at our International Campus in Swansea Bay, but we have also continued to invest, literally, millions of pounds in the very best resources and facilities for you,” he adds.

As an organisation that’s renowned for putting students first, NPTC encourages all students to aim for new, ambitious heights. Through innovative incentives such as the Oxbridge Programme, students are encouraged to maximize their full potential and strive for entrance to elite universities across the UK and the world. But as a decision that potentially determines the rest of your life, how can you be sure you’re making the right choice?

What’s right for me: BTEC or A Levels?

One thing NPTC guarantees is their ability to match you to your ideal study route. Once you submit your application, NPTC’s experienced support team and teaching staff will help you choose your subjects and define the most appropriate learning programme to get you where you want to be.

A Levels

  • After a successful two-years of comprehensive study within three to four disciplines of choice, you’ll be awarded your A Level qualifications, recognised by leading universities on all four corners of the globe.
  • Most A Levels will incorporate four to six specific modules, and you’ll likely be assessed via a mixture of independent coursework and examinations.
  • Upon completion of your A Level programme, you’ll be able to progress to university, or otherwise delve right into a meaningful, relevant career.

BTEC Extended Diploma

  • This is another two-year course that covers a broad range of disciplines, and can be worth as many UCAS points – your higher education currency – as three A Level subjects.
  • BTEC students are assessed purely by coursework – there are no examinations, making it a preferable route for students who do better with practical work
  • Much like with A Level subjects, you can progress onto work or further study upon successful completion of your BTEC course.

Picking the right subjects depending on your chosen university and future aspirations

Some universities favour certain subjects over others, and it’s definitely worth taking these, as well as entry and language requirements, into consideration before choosing your BTEC or A Level subjects. Each year, the Russell Group publishes a guide to Informed Choices, providing a detailed and efficient way for you to identify the most encouraging subjects. But this sort of guide should serve as a supportive tool, and if the discipline you’re most passionate about doesn’t make the cut, in no way does that mean that you should give it up. Every person, course and university is different, and there will always be an institution ready to accommodate your unique talents. If your first choice isn’t really what it first might have seemed, maybe your second choice can offer something better – because by no means does second choice stand for second rate.

Image courtesy of NPTC Group

Another thing to consider when choosing your subjects is their suitability for your desired career. If you want to be a Nurse, for example, truth is, it would be pointless to pursue a handful of arts-based subjects. Students are encouraged to take at least some facilitating subjects, which The Guardian identifies as maths, English literature, physics, biology, chemistry history and languages.

But as Mike Nicholson, Head of Admissions at the University of Bath, explains, there’s no harm in opting for subjects that fall outside this list. “For instance, if a student is going to do a degree where they’ll be doing lots of presentations, it might be useful to study drama,” he says.

“With something like a law degree, drama may not be an obvious choice. But if you’re thinking about going into the legal profession, where you might need to perform in court, it might actually be useful.”

Is it wrong to choose a subject you’ve never studied before?

The simple answer here is no.

Further education opens a wealth of disciplines you may not have experienced at school – like Building, Engineering, Catering and Hospitality, Business, Travel & Leisure, Public Service, and beyond. If you were to rule these subjects out simply because you have not studied them before, you’d be closing yourself off to a heap of exciting opportunities and potential career paths.

Speak to your teachers and also former students to get an idea of what’s on offer; seek advice from qualified, competent professionals, like those working in support at NPTC. Their team members are always ready to guide you down the right path if you’re feeling overwhelmed… and they always have your best interests at heart. Remember – many universities offer ‘taster’ days for curious Year 11s, giving you the perfect chance to experience a subject at university level so you can make an informed decision.

Image courtesy of NPTC Group

These decisions affect the rest of your life and are not ones that should not be taken lightly nor allowed to submit to influence. Your life ultimately makes it your personal choice – but if you want to start your education or career off on the best possible foot, the guidance, advice and support on offer at respected institutions like NPTC will help set you on the path to your career or chosen university – and you can’t put a price on that.

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