Most careers advice at independent schools now concentrates on higher education choices and university admissions, since almost all their pupils progress to the sixth form and thence into higher education. However, schools careers advisers do also keep an eye on the entry requirements to the professions (medicine, law accountancy etc) when advising students on their choice of subjects for GCSE, AS and A-levels.

A school’s higher education and careers advice provision is likely to include –

    • A careers library, with university and college prospectuses.
    • At least one adviser to point pupils towards the next step if they know what they want to do, and towards some books and websites if they do not.
    • Organised visits to higher education and careers fairs.
    • Psychological aptitude tests.
    • Films and talks about careers options, often with some direct input from parents.
    • Membership of ISCO (Independent Schools Careers Organisation).

Some schools arrange valuable work experience which should stand pupils in good stead when they look for jobs after leaving − short-term job placements during the holidays or after exams; leadership training; running Young Enterprise or other companies selling tuck or stationery; writing, designing and desk-top publishing their own magazine; or programmes for school music and drama events.

Some students do not aim for higher education. Here occupational information and advice is vital; check what is provided, especially if your child is not very academic.