How To Support Your Teen’s Transition To Sixth Form (or College)

After the deserved respite of the summer holidays awaits a tricky transition back to routine – especially for families with newly-starting Sixth Form students. 

Without any of the usual end-of-Year-11 rites of passage, students may struggle to adapt to this next stage of their academic journey. 

Yes, the jump from GCSEs to A Levels means fewer subjects. But it also means a more in-depth syllabus, a greater workload and more independent study, which pupils must juggle alongside UCAS deadlines and extracurricular activities to support Personal Statements.

As a parent, you might be wondering if there is anything you can do to make the transition easier for your teen. The answer is yes! Read on for our tips on how to help your child to start Sixth Form feeling as prepared as possible.

Re-establish routine now 

We all know that teens need their sleep. But rest becomes even more valuable to busy Sixth-Formers with earlier alarms, and particularly for those about to undergo the exhausting process of moving schools. 

During school closures, most have grown used to longer lie-ins. And the summer holidays won’t make these any easier to transition out of. So we recommend helping your teen to get back into a more regular sleeping pattern now, to make the wake-up in September that bit more bearable.

And, if travelling to Sixth Form will mean a different bus or train journey, help them to plan this in advance. A new commute could well cut into those precious 8 hours of sleep if it’s not efficiently organised

Delegate more responsibility this summer

Regular meal times aren’t always a key feature of summer holidays. But starting to stick to them now will help establish that all-important routine. Plus, they provide a great opportunity to delegate some more responsibility to your budding Sixth-Former. 

Why not get your teen involved in meal prep and teach them some healthy lunch recipes this summer? This will give them accountability for their own lunch boxes in the future. And, although small, responsibility for these jobs like these are important steps towards their impending independence.

Create a calendar and plan a timetable together

There are a whole host of important dates in the Sixth Form year. From coursework deadlines to mocks and then the real exams. On top of this, there are UCAS application and Personal Statement deadlines to consider for those planning to attend university. 

Time management is the only way to keep tabs on all these new demands. But it’s a skill which needs to be learnt. Plotting these key events in a calendar with your teen will help them to set their sights on their goals and create a study plan accordingly.

Factor study into non-contact hours at school and concentrate revision around the build up to tests. And don’t forget any driving lessons! The aim is to be as organised as possible from the outset to avoid stressful last-minute cramming

Don’t forget to include moments of relaxation and time for socialising – these are essential for your teen’s mental health and happiness.  

Utilise revision resources

Seek external academic support for your teen to ensure that they fulfil their potential in the classroom. There are plenty of online resources designed for this very purpose, such as Save My Exams! Explore our Topic Questions and Past Papers created by teachers specifically for A Level students, covering Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. 

They’re organised by topics and accompanied by mark schemes, Model Answers and interactive progress tracking – so you can make sure that nothing gets missed. This is the perfect way to guide your soon-to-be Sixth Former towards independent study whilst maintaining structure.

Communicate

Make sure that you have regular, honest conversations with your teen, so they can share any worries or concerns with you. It’s important to acknowledge inevitable nerves as September comes closer, but try to encourage a positive perspective too. So many new experiences and exciting opportunities are just around the corner!

Sixth Form is the gateway to university, and although it’s too soon to start applying, it’s never too soon to start getting excited! Most universities are running virtual tours and Open Days over the coming months. This is also a great way to motivate reluctant Sixth Formers to take their studies more seriously. 

We’re sending our best wishes to all the new Sixth Formers and their families this autumn! We hope this guide has helped you all to feel more prepared and confident as the summer draws to a close. 

Have you got any questions for our study experts? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch by messaging us on social media: @SaveMyExams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.