Making the right choice – first time
“In order for students to progress into the career area that is right for them, selecting the right course in the beginning is essential. We help pupils to achieve this through good advice and clear direction” explains Mrs Starbuck. Preparation is key, which is why at Trent College pupils begin considering their career paths from Year 7.
University dropouts occur for a number of reasons, when students don’t enjoy the course, their accommodation, they’re missing home or struggling to make friends. To prevent this, the recommendation from the Careers department is to review and compare the modules of the university courses that pupils are interested in, as well as visiting universities, to gain an understanding of studying at that institution and being mentally prepared for studying there.
“The location of the university, its clubs and societies and where friends are studying, won’t encourage you to get out of bed in the morning to head to your lectures. It is the course and its content that will inspire and motivate you each day” suggests Mrs Starbuck.
When it comes to completing the UCAS application, an early and proactive approach is essential. At Trent College, Sixth Formers complete their submission prior to the exam season to enable them to concentrate on the examinations.
School-wide careers programme
Input from the Careers team is vital for pupils throughout their Trent College journey. Unifrog is an online software programme that is used across all year groups at Trent College. By starting to use Unifrog in Lower School (Year 7 and 8), pupils can begin to develop an understanding of their personality and ideal work environment before progressing this to discover specific courses of interest and universities by Sixth Form.
1 to 1 support
With a dedicated industry professional heading up the Careers department, pupils feel reassured that they can seek the access and input they require. From discussions on selecting the right GCSEs and A Levels for their career aspirations or which post-16 route is best suited to them, to guidance on their UCAS personal statement and mock interviews – pupils feel supported and fully informed on their choices and next steps.
Preparation for independence
At Trent College there are many ways that we prepare our pupils to become independent young adults. Boarding is a brilliant stepping-stone for university life. By living in a boarding community, pupils develop skills such as communication, time management, appreciation for others as well as learning to take responsibility.
Participating in the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) awards is warmly encouraged at Trent College which result in a high uptake each year. The scheme encourages many confidence building elements and the expeditions offer another fantastic example to experience time away from home and gain new life skills.
To help introduce the researching and referencing skills required for study at Higher Education level, pupils can choose to take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in Sixth Form. This independent study project is taken alongside A Levels and provides additional UCAS points as well as offering an interest point of difference on applications.
Continuing support through the alumni network
Once pupils leave Trent College we offer ongoing support through our active alumni programme. Access to the Old Trident network gives pupils the opportunity to continue the sense of community, fellowship and friendship long after leaving the school.
The network is frequently called upon to support pupils who are seeking insights into specific careers. Airline pilots, marine biologists, tech entrepreneurs, medicine and veterinary science are just some examples of the industry professionals who have inspired the minds of the next generation.
When pupils opt to take time out after their A Levels with a gap year, many return and reach out to the school’s dedicated Alumni Office and the Careers Department, for continuing support with their university applications and work placement requirements.
Alex Owens-Evangelou, Class of 2021, was faced with increased competition for a university place to study veterinary medicine, an aspiration he had held since completing the careers profiling activity during Year 10. When his plans to get into a UK university started to look in doubt, he redirected his thoughts to studying abroad, “alternative courses didn’t appeal to me, and I wasn’t sure that the competition would be less the next year, to reapply. I just wanted to get on with it. So I started looking into the opportunities to study abroad and found a number of English teaching vet schools in Europe, accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons”.
“Mrs Starbuck helped me prepare a new application and supported me with completing the additional levels of bureaucracy, at breakneck speed!”
“Reflecting on my time at Trent College; it was great at helping me build a CV without me even realising it at the time, through Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, CCF, Adventure Sports etc. With all the extra-curricular activities on offer, just by choosing the ones I enjoyed, I built experiences that led me on this path.”
“VetSoc, the school’s academic society for aspiring vets, consolidated all the experiences I’d been inadvertently gathering through my day-to-day schooling at Trent, which helped me focus my university applications and supported my personal statement.
“In 2019, during Year 12, I jumped at the chance to join the school trip to Kenya. We had the opportunity to visit a conservation area and it was such an amazing experience. I will return to the UK to gain [work] experience, but I really want to return to Africa and work with the big animals”.
Reflecting on Alex’s success, Mrs Starbuck shares, “it is wonderful to know that Alex continues to follow his passion for veterinary medicine and is enjoying his university course overseas. It is a privilege to be part of all our pupils’ journeys and see them reach their goals after their hard work and dedication over the years.”