#GCTopTips: 5 Tips for Starting Your First Year at College

11 September 2017

College can be a scary place, especially if you are in your first year and have come straight from school. At Gloucestershire College, we have a range of opportunities and support networks that you can access from your very first day with us to ensure that you find the transition between school and college as easy as possible. Whether you want to plan for your career after college, make new friends, volunteer, or get involved in sport, our top tips will give you insight into some of the ways in which you can make the most out of your time at GC.

Tip #1: Plan Your Route

However you are going to be travelling to college, make sure you plan your route effectively. Do you know how long it will take you? Have you considered how much time you need to make an allowance for with traffic? Have you tested your route before your first day?

Travelling by bus is one of the most popular ways our students get to college. That's why we have teamed up with Stagecoach West and Michael's Travel to provide a number of bus routes that stop outside our campuses and give discounted travel to students - just remember to show the driver your GC Student ID card! You can also find out more information on the government website about subsidised transport.

We have also put together a handy guide to travelling to college, which provides information on which buses you can catch to get to and from any of our campuses, bus timetables and information on fares. You can also find out more about transportation by visiting our Advice Team in Student Services.

Tip #2: Discover Activities and Opportunities

A great way to make friends and have fun at college is by getting involved in the range of activities and opportunities we have as part of our dedication to giving all students a fantastic experience at college and preparing you for your next steps. Whether you want to get involved in sport, volunteering or are looking for something that will help you with your career plans, Gloucestershire College has something for everyone.

If you want to develop your skills further, GC offers a range of volunteering opportunities, including working with the National Citizen Service (NCS) which gives 16-17 year olds a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get involved with the community and take part in outdoor activities. Autumn dates are now available with NCS running from 20 October - 1 November this year. Find out more here.

If you are a lover of sport and want to keep it at college, why not get involved with GC Active? We have a number of sports you can try including skiing, trampolining, hockey, and more. Don't see an activity that you like? We can take requests for new sports to be added to our timetable! We also have a range of Sports Academies at GC that you can join, including our Gloucester Saxons Basketball Team. Find out what sports are on offer and the dates which you can try out for the teams here.

Tip #3: College is Different to School

The learning environment in college is very different to school in a number of ways. At GC, we offer students the opportunity to develop themselves individually with their learning. We have a range of state-of-the-art facilities to help you with your learning, including libraries and clubs you can get involved in, such as a Student Innovator with our GC DigiTech Team! We also have a range of virtual learning resources in our VLE suite which is where you will find resources from your course and great tips on exam preparation.

One of the best ways you can be prepared for college is making sure you have everything with you and stay organised. Making sure you bring any notepads, pens and equipment you need with you to every class is important, but there are a number of other ways you can ensure you are ready to learn. Why not ask your tutor if there are any apps they suggest that you can use for learning or keeping in touch with your peers? Do you have your timetable in an easy-to-access place and know where all the rooms are that you will be learning in? Take a tour around the college with your friends - and don't be afraid to ask any members of staff if you don't know where a room is!

Tip #4: Get to Know Your Tutors and Learning Mentors

Your tutor should be your first point of contact for any questions about your course and the learning material, so making sure you know how to contact them it vital. If you are on a Level 1 or 2 course you will also take part in Professional Development Sessions to ensure you have the skills and knowledge to start working independently in business. We also have a dedicated Employment Support team at each campus who can help you with work experience opportunities.

As a GC student, you will also be able to get support from a Learning Mentor throughout your time at college. They can offer additional support to your tutors and are an important point of contact if you have any questions about employability, safeguarding and learning.

Our Learning Support team are also available to any students with additional needs, offering guidance and help to students with a range of learning differences and disabilities. If you've not let us know about any learning differences or medical issues in your application form, you can get in touch with the Learning Support team here.

Tip #5: Everyone is in the Same Boat

One of the most important things to remember when coming to college for the first time is that everyone is in the same boat as you - especially in your first year. When you arrive at college, don't be afraid to speak to the people on your course and get involved in activities. GC offers an incredibly friendly environment for you to both learn and have fun in. You will never know unless you try - so enjoy it!

 

Why Gloucestershire College?

We have a lot of experience offering Apprenticeships and work-related training. We have industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching staff which provide the ideal complement to work-based learning.

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90% of students would recommend GC and 95% said that the teaching on their course was good.

Ofsted has rated us "good" with "outstanding" features.

We'll look after you. We have dedicated teams to help you and a great new Personal Tutor scheme.

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