Are A-Levels Further Education? Why Study A-Levels at a Further Education College?

are a levels further education
are a levels further education

One of the popular choices for further education in many countries, including the United Kingdom, is A-Levels. A-Levels are advanced level qualifications that offer students the opportunity to specialize in subjects of their choice, paving the way for higher education or career prospects.

But are A-Levels considered further education? And why should students opt to study them at a further education college? Are there any special perks to this venture?

In this article, we will explore the nature of A-Levels as further education and the advantages of pursuing them at a further education college.

What is Further Education?

Further education (FE), refers to the educational stage that follows Year 11 or the completion of General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualifications, typically when students are around 16 years old. In further education, the educational focus becomes more specialized compared to secondary school education.

Students often study fewer subjects or may even engage in specialized roles, such as those found in apprenticeships. Its increased level of academic and vocational specialization characterizes it. Students in this phase typically pursue Level 3 qualifications, which include A-Levels, BTECs (Business and Technology Education Council), and certain apprenticeship programs.

These qualifications are designed to provide a deeper and more advanced understanding of specific subjects or career pathways. However, there are also Level 2 qualifications available within further education for those who may need to strengthen their foundational knowledge or skills before moving on to Level 3 studies.

What are A-Levels?

A-Levels, short for Advanced Levels, are a widely recognized form of further education in the United Kingdom (excluding Scotland). Typically undertaken after completing General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualifications, A-Levels represent one of the most traditional routes in further education.

A-Levels stand out in further education because of their teaching approach, which closely resembles the methods used during secondary school education. Many times, students pursuing A-Levels continue their studies in the same school or educational institution where they completed their GCSEs.

This continuity often means that the same teachers who taught them during their GCSEs will continue to instruct them during their A-Level courses.

However, it’s essential to note that the experience of studying A-Levels differs significantly from being in Year 11 in secondary school. A-Levels demand a more advanced and in-depth understanding of the subjects chosen, providing students with a higher level of academic rigor and specialization to prepare them for higher education or specific career paths.

Read this article: What Are University Entrance Exams? Your Complete Guide to Choosing College Entrance Exams

Advantages of Studying A-Levels at a Further Education College

Reasons you should pursue A-Levels at a further education college include the following:

Diverse Subject Choices

One of the most significant advantages of studying A-Levels at a further education college is the diverse range of subjects available. These colleges typically offer an array of A-Level subjects, ensuring that you can find subjects that align with your interests, career goals, and future aspirations.

Whether you’re passionate about science, humanities, or the arts, you’re likely to find suitable A-Level courses at these institutions.

Smaller Class Sizes

Further education colleges often maintain smaller class sizes compared to larger institutions like traditional high schools or universities. Smaller classes mean more personalized attention from experienced teachers.

This individualized approach allows for a deeper understanding of the subject, better teacher-student interaction, and a supportive learning environment.

Dedicated and Experienced Teachers

Further education colleges typically employ dedicated and experienced teachers who specialize in their respective subjects. These educators are well-versed in A-Level curriculum and can provide tailored support to help you succeed academically.

Their expertise ensures that you receive high-quality instruction and guidance throughout your A-Level journey.

Read also: Can You Get Into University With Only 2 A-Levels?

Comprehensive Support Services

Further education colleges offer a range of support services to help students thrive academically and personally. These services may include additional tutoring, study resources, career guidance, and counseling.

The goal is to provide a holistic approach to student development, ensuring that you have the tools and support you need to succeed.

Flexible Learning Options

Many further education colleges offer flexible learning options to accommodate a variety of student needs. Whether you prefer full-time or part-time courses, evening classes, or even online learning, you can often find a schedule that suits your lifestyle.

This flexibility is valuable for students who have other commitments, such as part-time jobs or family responsibilities.

Smooth Transition to Further Education

Universities widely recognize and accept A-Levels worldwide. Further education colleges typically have strong links with universities, making it easier for students to transition seamlessly into degree programs. They can guide the university application process, ensuring a smooth transition to the next level of education.

Focus on Academic Development

A-Levels are known for their academic rigor and depth. Studying these qualifications at a further education college allows you to focus on your academic development without the distractions of a more generalized curriculum. This deep subject knowledge can be invaluable when pursuing higher education or entering the job market.

Transitioning from A-Levels to Further Education

A-Levels serve as a foundation for advanced studies and can open doors to universities and colleges across the world. To ensure a smooth transition and make the most of your further education experience, consider the following tips.

Choose Your A-Level Subjects Wisely

The first step in a successful transition to further education is choosing the right A-Level subjects. These subjects should align with your intended course of study at the university level. Universities often have specific entry requirements, so research these requirements and select A-Levels that meet them.

Maintain a Strong Academic Record

Universities typically consider your A-Level grades when making admission decisions. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain a strong academic record throughout your A-Level studies. Consistent effort and dedication to your coursework can lead to better university prospects.

Explore University Options

Research and explore different universities and courses that interest you. Consider factors such as location, course content, reputation, and entry requirements. Attend university open days and seek guidance from teachers and career counselors.

Prepare a Strong Personal Statement

When applying to universities, you’ll often need to submit a personal statement. Use this opportunity to showcase your passion for your chosen field, your achievements, and your reasons for pursuing higher education.

Embrace Campus Life

Once you’re enrolled in higher education, engage in campus activities, join clubs or societies, and build a social network. A well-rounded college experience includes both academic and extracurricular involvement.

Maintain a Growth Mindset

Approach further education with a growth mindset, understanding that learning is a continuous process. Be open to new ideas, perspectives, and challenges.

Consider Gap Years or Alternative Pathways

If you’re unsure about your further education plans, taking a gap year or exploring alternative pathways such as apprenticeships or internships can provide valuable experiences and insights.

Read: What is Campus Universities Like in the UK?

Are A-Levels Further Education?

A-Levels are indeed considered a form of further education, albeit a specialized one. Further education encompasses all post-compulsory education that falls outside the realm of compulsory secondary education.

While students aged 16 to 18 typically undertake A-levels, they are not compulsory, and students have the choice to pursue alternative pathways such as vocational qualifications or apprenticeships.

Further education colleges are institutions specifically designed to offer a range of post-secondary education and training opportunities. A-Levels are among the most prominent offerings in these colleges, making them a natural choice for students seeking to further their academic studies beyond the compulsory phase.


What financial options are available for funding my higher education?

Financial options include scholarships, grants, student loans, part-time work, and financial aid programs. Research these options and create a financial plan to cover tuition, living expenses, and other costs.

When should I plan for higher education during my A-Level studies?

It’s advisable to plan for higher education early in your A-Level journey, ideally in the first year. Research universities or colleges, understand entry requirements, and consider your academic and career goals.

What should I include in my university application personal statement?

Your personal statement should highlight your passion for your chosen field, your academic achievements, relevant extracurricular activities, and your motivations for pursuing higher education. Tailor it to the specific course and institution you’re applying to.


A-Levels are a form of further education, and studying them at a further education college offers many advantages. The diversity of subject choices, smaller class sizes, dedicated support, flexible learning options, and a smooth transition to higher education make further education colleges an attractive choice for students pursuing A-Levels.

These colleges provide an ideal environment for academic growth and specialization, setting students on a path toward achieving their educational and career aspirations. If you’re considering A-Levels as your next academic step, a further education college might be the perfect place to embark on this exciting journey.



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