Over the next couple of weeks, most colleges will be holding transition days, where you go to the school for the day, and participate in lessons of your choosing. You will meet subject teachers, meet people who may be in your classes from September, and get a general feel of what it is like to go to that college / sixth form. In this post, I will give you a few ways that you can use these days to make your final decision about which school to go to, decide what A-Levels you want to take, and which note taking method may be best for you during lessons.
How to make your college decision:
These days are your first real experience of college life. I think they are so vital because each school offers completely different things, and some will be better for you than others. Use transition day wisely; pay full attention to your teacher, and the structure of the lesson, because even though you may not have that specific teacher, the likelihood is the lesson structure will be similar, if not identical throughout the faculty. For example, College X may have a more time specific structure – you have 5 minutes to complete this task – where as College Y may have more of a “take as much time as you need” structure. I know that I prefer to have a specific amount of time to complete a task, so I’m leaning more towards College X, because I prefer the structure, and I feel I will learn more effectively in that manner.
Not only are lessons structured differently, but the school day as a whole may be as well. You will most likely be at the school from 9am to 3pm, and will be escorted throughout the campus to your various lessons, so you will also get a feel of the grounds, and how busy it will be, as thousands of you move all move at once. You may feel more at ease in one school than another, and that will factor into which you choose in the end. Try to make note of even the littlest of things, because they may end up being the deciding factor.
Deciding what subjects to take:
You will try out three subjects on transition day, and they will be the subjects you put on your application. If you’ve changed your mind then on the day, go to a help desk if they have one and see if it is possible for you to participate in a different lesson. Even if you can’t, don’t panic, you will be able to change your subjects on enrolment day.
You will essentially be taught your first lesson of each subject on the day, and it will allow you to get a sense of the curriculum and lesson style, so you can really see if you think you will enjoy a certain course. I think it’s best that you do some of your own research on the subject before choosing it though, and not just go off one lesson you had. Take a look at the syllabus and also at YouTube, as people will have videos about their experience and opinion on the subject. For example, I didn’t know a lot about economics so I looked up the kind of things you learn during the course and stuff like that, and I think that it will be something I enjoy, as I enjoy finance and applications in the real world, which is basically what economics is.
At one of the transition days I’m attending, I couldn’t change one of my choices from sociology to chemistry, so if I can’t change on the day, I will take the sociology and I may love it, and decide to take it over chemistry in the end.
Overall, just go in with an open mindset, and actively take part in the lesson, so you can get the most out of it. Think that each lesson you have in the certain subject is going to be similar to this one, just with different content, but I definitely recommend doing some of your own research into any course you’re thinking about choosing.
How to find a good note-taking method:
So, you’re in three 60-90 minute lessons, which gives you 3 opportunities to experiment with note taking methods. For each lesson, use a different method, and at the end of they day, look over the notes you have made, and see which one you prefer.
Obviously, this isn’t a definitive method, as you need to use a note taking style consistently to really know if it works or not, but it will give you an initial idea of what to try at first, rather than going in on your first day completely blind.
Good luck to everyone on your transition days and results day, I hope you all get the grades you want and get into your first choice college!