Everything you need to know about college as a school leaver

Teenage girl wearing a red top in a college classroom.

You might have a lot of questions about coming to college as a school leaver, so we’ve answered some of them in this blog. If you have a question and don’t see it answered here, email us at courseinfo@edinburghcollege.ac.uk so a member of the team can help you out.

What are my options when I leave school?

There are lots of options to consider when you leave school. You could come to college, go to university, head straight into the workplace, work abroad or go travelling.

What age can I leave school at?

In Scotland, you can leave school at age 16 so can leave after you’ve finished S4 or stay on until S6.   

How much does it cost to study at college?

When you study at college you will need to consider paying for course fees and living costs like travel, accommodation and materials. If you are a school leaver there are usually a lot of options available to you to help you fund your studies at college.

Funding options to help with living costs include:

  • Bursary (full-time students only)
  • Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
  • Childcare Funding
  • Discretionary Funding
  • Care Experienced Bursary

Funding options to pay for course fees include:

  • Fee wavier
  • SAAS (for Higher Education courses only)
  • Home or International Tuition Fees

Find out more about course costs, funding and fees on the Funding and Fees section of our website.  

Close up shot of one pound coins on top of bank notes.

I’m not sure what I want to do after school. Is college a good option?

College is a great option for school leavers. We offer a large range of courses to get you ready for the world of work or university level study. Going to university or into the world of work straight from school is a big step, so college is an excellent transition which can help boost your confidence for progressing on to university or the world of work.

What should I study?

What you study at college is entirely up to you! You might want to build on a subject you studied at school, try something new, prepare for university or get skills to be job ready.

Browse our courses on our website to see what is available to you and talk your options over with a guidance teacher, family member or friend.

Read our blog for some top tips on picking your college course to help you find a course that is right for you.

What results do I need to get on to a course?

You can find the course entry requirements on the course listing on our website. Don’t worry if you don’t have the entry requirements, we might be able to get you on a course that is more suitable level.

When would my course start?

Your course start date will be on the course listing on our website. You will receive your timetable after you have enrolled online. If you are applying for one of our January courses this will start in January 2021.

How do I submit my application?

You can submit your application online through our application system on our website. Go to the course you want to apply for and click ‘Apply Now’ to start your application.

Read our blog for more information about how to apply for a course.

Will I learn at a college campus?

For session 2020/21, we are using a blended learning approach with the majority of classes delivered online. Only a small number of classes for specific courses will take place in college where it is necessary and safe to do so. It is likely that you will learn online from home and you will get more information about this when you enrol.

I don’t have access to a computer for learning at home. Can I still study at college?

The College will make every effort to arrange help in accessing equipment you need to study from home. You will be asked to complete a survey before your course starts to establish your needs. In this survey you can let us know what you need in order to learn from home.

Teenager wearing headphones, writing some notes with a laptop open on their desk.

If I’m learning at home, how will I make friends and get to know my lecturers?

We know meeting new people is an exciting part of college life and there will be opportunities for you to do this through your online lessons, course group chats and through ECSA. You could join a club or society to meet new people with similar interests. You can also join the Edinburgh College Virtual Campus on Facebook Groups to meet and chat to people on your course and throughout the college.

Are there any clubs or societies I can join?

Edinburgh College Students’ Association (ECSA) run a range of sports clubs, societies and groups. Some of these groups are still meeting regularly online.

Find out more about clubs and societies on ECSA’s website.

I have an additional support need and/or disability. Is there support for me at college?

Our learning support team can create a personal learning support plan with you to make sure you have all the support you need during your studies. If you include information about a disability or additional learning support need on your application, a member of the team will be in touch to talk with you about this. You can also get in touch with the team after you have enrolled.

What facilities can I get access to?

There are libraries and recourse centres at each of our campuses that you will be able to access throughout your studies. At the moment, our libraries can be accessed virtually through Moodle. Access to our campus libraries are strictly for our click and collect service only.

As a student at Edinburgh College you can also take advantage of our training salons, training restaurants and leisure facilities at reduced prices. Find out more about our health and leisure facilities on our website.

Is college like school?

College is a bit different from school as you will have more freedom over your learning but also more responsibility. Class sizes are typically smaller than university lectures and you can access a range of support to help you throughout your studies at Edinburgh College.  

What can I do after I finish my course?

College is a flexible option so this is entirely up to you! After your course is complete you might decide to progress within college, move on to university or secure employment.

If you want to stay at college after your course you can progress to a higher level of study or you could try something new. Our Student Services team and your lecturers will be able to give you some guidance on your next steps after college.

Ready to start your application? View all courses starting in January.

Teenage girl wearing a red top in a college classroom, text on image reads "Ready to start your application? View our courses."