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It gets even better after GCSEs

UK STUDENTS all have one thing in common; they have to pass exams or coursework before experiencing the joys of further or higher education - it’s time for action!

Competition for university places, changes in financial support and structures and the current climate mean young people are under the spotlight, and what’s the best thing to do when you are under the spotlight? Perform of course!

Don’t focus on the negative. Here are some top tips on how to take positive action to create the successful future you want:

TIP 1: Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it

School, sixth forms and universities are a platform for self-discovery - get involved in clubs and projects. Seyi Ebofin of Skinners’ Academy demonstrates the right attitude, having recently participated in a BBC filming project “The BBC experience was great because it showed me what I will be doing if, for example, I took up media in the future – and it’s also something that will be good to include on my CV.”

Not sure of your direction? Expand your horizons by attending careers fairs and doing work experience. You’ll soon have a better idea of what appeals and what doesn’t.

TIP 2: An opinion does not equal fact

Citizenship and Enterprise lessons in schools can be a great source for understanding context and information. One politician says one thing… another contradicts them. One business leader says the recession automatically means failure for businesses yet some of the world’s biggest companies including: Apple, Microsoft, Burger King and Disney were founded during economic downturns. The most successful people embrace positive influences and pay little attention to negative ones. Try it and you’ll see your success rate rise.

Principal Wilkins from Skinners’ Academy, celebrates GCSE success with two students

TIP 3: Decide on your next goals… and go for them!

Take a piece of paper and write down ”Goals”, today’s date and 5-10 things you would like to accomplish in the next year.

Do these include achieving three good A-Levels? Finding out more about university funding? Exploring local apprenticeships? Write them down and ask yourself one question: ’If I could only accomplish one goal on this list, but could accomplish it within 24 hours, which one goal would have the greatest positive impact on my life?’ Repeat this exercise two or three times and you should be left with your priority goals. Excellent, now that’s your focus.

As plenty of London success stories have shown us, look at Sir Alan Sugar, lack of riches does not result in failure. Passion, motivation, drive and action will get you where you need.

* Gina Visram is a qualified personal development coach and delivers the Skinners’ Academy careers enhancement programme to 6th formers and shares advice on how to stand out from the crowd when sending out CVs to prospective: colleges universities or employers.

To find out more about the 6th form, contact head of 6th form, Harvey Byram on