Making decisions

Everyone finds it hard at times to make decisions. It can be stressful. But it can also mean the start of something new and exciting. This is especially true for big decisions like what you’ll do after you finish school.

How to decide

  • take a step back and make sure you understand your situation
  • think carefully and write down a list of what all your options are
  • write down a list of pros and cons (good and bad things) about each option
  • think about how each option makes you feel. If you feel worried it may not be the best option for you
  • talk to someone about how you feel, like an adult you trust or a close friend
  • talk to people who’ve had to make similar choices and ask them for advice
  • remember that you don't have to do anything that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Big decisions about school

Making choices about your education can feel overwhelming. Here are some things that might help you make those decisions:

  • if you're unsure about which subjects to do for your GCSEs or A Levels, it can help to talk to a teacher or an adult who you trust
  • if you're choosing where to study, visit colleges or universities and talk to students and teachers to find out what it’s like
  • if you didn't get the results you were hoping for, you may have different options to choose from. Remember you don't need to make your decision without support. See our assessment results page for ideas.

Whe  you're making decisions about your future, it helps to talk with someone. You could talk to a teacher or careers adviser, as well as your parents or carers. And don’t forget that Childline is always here for you.

Peer pressure

It’s natural to want to fit in. Sometimes this can make decision making hard, because you might feel pressure to do something you don’t want to do.

You always have the right to say no to something you don’t want to do and other people should respect this. You should make the right decisions for you, not other people.

If you’re struggling with peer pressure then you can always get support from an adult you trust or Childline. We have more advice on our peer pressure page.

Social Media

There can also be pressure on social media to do things you don’t want to do, such as sending nude images. Nobody has the right to pressure you in to doing anything you don’t want to do.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with something that’s happening on social media, it’s a good time to stop and talk to someone like Childline. We have more advice about this on our sexting and sending nudes page.

There are risks to sharing nude images of yourself online. You might be blackmailed if they’re shared with the wrong person – or they might be published without your permission. If this has happened to you then you can use our report remove service to remove it from the internet.

Dealing with wrong decisions

Nobody makes the right decision all the time. And lots of people change their minds after deciding on something. It might be scary but realising that something isn’t right is part of learning to make choices you’re happy with.

You don’t have to do anything that makes you unhappy or worried, and if you are being made to then you can tell someone who might be able to help.

If it’s a problem with a course at school or college, you can talk to your teacher or careers adviser and get help.

If you’re worried about your future, or you’re having a tough time making decisions, you can talk to us at any time. Or visit the message boards and ask other young people for their opinions. Some people may have gone through similar things and can tell you about their experiences.