Frankly, it’s a tough world out there for the young, ordinary folk of today.

What with being pushed on the exam treadmill from just six years old, spending years in a classroom trying to learn everything the teachers throw at you to pass as many GCSEs as you can, and then trying to find the right career path to follow, your school years are likely to be a rollercoaster of ups and downs.

So what if those more fortunate than us mere mortals had to attend school and find their own way in life afterwards? What might their strengths cause them to study? And how would they embark on suitable career that would support them for the rest of their lives?

To highlight there is something out there for everyone, and often more than one way of getting there, we take a look at the 11 official Disney princesses and what they would do if they had to be given a dose of reality.

#1 Cinderella

Forced to work as a maid for her nasty stepmother (Lady Tremaine) and stepsisters (Drizella and Anastasia), it seems Cinderella would excel in GCSE subjects such as Home Economics and Food Preparation and Nutrition, but her abilities to sing, dance and sew would also make her a good candidate for Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts and Design & Technology (which includes Textiles).

From here she could go on to study similar subjects at A level, or alternatively add to her wealth of practical experience with a BTEC qualification in:

  • Cleaning
  • Drama, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts
  • Food Manufacturing
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Home Economics
  • Textiles and Apparel Manufacturing

Not forgetting her special talent to communicate and empathise with animals, Cinders would also be well-placed to study for a BTEC in Animal Care and Veterinary Science.

Signing up for an apprenticeship after her GCSEs would allow her to actually get paid for all the hard work she does for once, and learn new skills on the job at the same time. We think an apprenticeship in an area such as:

  • Cabin crew
  • Catering and Professional Chefs
  • Cleaning and Environmental Services
  • Food and Drink
  • Fashion and Textiles: Technical
  • Music Business
  • Costume and Wardrobe
  • Technical Theatre
  • Animal Care

Would be best suited to Cinders’ talents, where she can then move on to supervisor or manager roles (and give her the confidence to start bossing her evil step mum and sisters around instead!).

#2 Snow White

Cast into the woods by an evil Queen to be murdered by a huntsman, Snow White is sentenced to death because of her beautiful looks. Like Cinderella, Snow White performs housekeeping duties in exchange for food and accommodation, but this time, the housemates are actually nice!

This means Snow White would undoubtedly be one of Cinderella’s class mates during GCSEs, as she is likely to be adept at similar subjects. However, her beauty might encourage her to lend a hand in helping others achieve the same look (particularly her ugly stepmother!), so a BTEC in Beauty Therapy & Hairdressing is another option she may choose after completing her GCSEs.

An appropriate apprenticeship would also help her develop a career that played to her strengths, with many vacancies available across Hospitality, Catering, Food, Drink and other related sectors.
Whether she decides to utilise and build on her domestic engineering skills, or take an entirely different path, we’re sure Snow White would continue to blossom outside of her fairy tale realm.

#3 Aurora

Since Sleeping Beauty spends a good chunk of her time, well…sleeping, then it’s a bit of a conundrum to identify what this snoozing princess might do during her time at school.

With the parents intact throughout her romantic story, it’s unlikely she’s ever lifted a finger around her stately castle home (Snow White and Cinders won’t be budding up with her in class!). Although one could argue this is why she should sign up for that Home Economics GCSE.

And given the circumstances, we don’t think anything that involves textiles and sewing is a great idea…

This rather limits suitable GCSE subjects for Aurora, so we suggest she takes a range that will keep doors open for her later on, including one language, one humanities, and one arts subject. Once she has a clutch of GCSE passes under her belt, she’ll at least have a foundation to build on.

One possibility (like Snow White) is helping others to look beautiful by taking a BTEC Beauty Therapy & Hairdressing course. Let’s face it, the name “Sleeping Beauty” doesn’t come much better as a brand for your own hair and make-up business. Apprenticeships in this area include Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, Nail Services and Spa Therapy.

Another suggestion is to capitalise on her gift of song by applying for a vocational qualification in Music, Dance, Drama or Theatre, or a relevant apprenticeship in the Arts, Media and Publishing sector.

Aurora is a prime example of the fact that even if you feel you don’t have many strengths, or not sure what really appeals at the moment, choosing to take a wide range of subjects at GCSE (and A-level, if this Is want you want to do) means you can still do what you want to do in the future by keeping your options open from the start.

#4 Ariel

This headstrong princess would have no problem passing her school exams with flying colours, although she might not appreciate having to be out of water for over six hours a day. Her skills in speed swimming, singing and talking to aquatic fauna make her a great candidate for GCSEs in physical education, music and languages.

From here, she could continue her studies in P.E & Sport, Music and Languages at BTEC level, but might also opt for Environmental Conservation given the nature of her living quarters. If Ariel fancies a more practical route, then the following apprenticeship schemes might appeal:

  • Animal Care
  • Fish Husbandry and Fisheries Management
  • Environment Conservation
  • Veterinary Nursing
  • Exercise and Fitness
  • Sports Development

Whatever route Ariel chose, we hope she would get to complete her qualifications in the comfort of human form, rather than as a mermaid (hopefully she’s got Ursula on speed dial).

#5 Belle

Beauty and the Beast’s princess has all the knowledge and intelligence required to become a top student in the class room. This beautiful bookworm is all set to excel in GCSE subjects such as English Literature, History, Geography and Politics.

With her father Maurice being an inventor, it’s possible Belle might decide to follow in his footsteps and take a traditional academic route in science, studying A levels in subjects such as Chemistry, Physics and Maths, before applying for an engineering degree at university.

A BTEC in Science, Engineering or Manufacturing Technologies would also help her on her way to this particular career, as would an appropriate engineering and technologies sector apprenticeship.

Alternatively, Belle could pursue a career in the equine industry, as she clearly knows how to handle a horse, after galloping off to try and find her father in the forest. Many Equine apprenticeships are available at gov.uk, which would allow her to gain more hands-on experience with horses while earning money and completing a qualification. However, brainy Belle may prefer the more academic option of an Equine Science degree, currently being offered by universities such as Oxford Brookes, Aberdeen and Aberystwyth.

Belle is not a girl with anything to fret about here – she’s one Disney princess who has many options open to her, and her wisdom would easily carry her far in our world.

#6 Jasmine

Jasmine’s independent, intelligent character and position as daughter of a Sultan and Sultana puts her in a great place for a career in politics.

Prepared to do anything to defend the subjects of her kingdom, Jasmine is likely to sign up for those GCSE subjects that would help rule on her own if she had to in the future. We predict History, Economics, Politics and Law being on the cards for this sassy, confident princess.

It also means Jasmine is likely to follow a more academic path, with A-levels in similar subjects to those taken at GCSE and a degree from a Russell Group institution.

Having been confined to the huge palace that is home for her entire life, Jasmine will probably benefit from taking a much-needed gap year to expand her horizons. We think a round the world trip taking in Africa, Asia and Australia would be just the ticket, and satisfy her curiosity over what exists outside her lavish lifestyle.

While Jasmine appears to also be fairly skilled in hand-to-hand combat, we think she’ll choose to use her intellect to secure a decent job, although it will have to be something well paid for her to keep Rajah (her pet tiger).

#7 Pocahontas

Free-spirited Pocahontas possesses a huge amount of wisdom, and like Belle, would perform well in an academic environment such as school or college.

She would probably choose to cover languages, politics and law for her GCSEs, since she is known for her ability to communicate and empathise with animals and other people. These subjects would also aid her when she travels to England as an ambassador on behalf of her people.

We anticipate this noble, spiritual young woman nurturing her smartness through A-levels and university, or an apprenticeship in an animal-related sector such as Equine, Game & Wildlife Management or Fish Husbandry. Her love of nature means qualifications in Agriculture might also appeal.    

#8 Mulan

Mulan’s skills on the battle field means this warm-hearted princess is most suited to a career in the physical arts. This means the class room isn’t the right place for her in the long run, and will instead go on to apply for an apprenticeship in Sporting Development, Sporting Excellence, Coaching, Exercise and Fitness, or Activity Leadership.

However, her convincing disguise as man during her time in the army prompts the scale of her theatrical abilities – it must have been pretty darn good to fool a lot of soldiers for a long time! So perhaps a career in drama might tempt her instead?

We also think her unwavering determination would lend itself well in the sphere of entrepreneurship, should she consider setting up her own business. Our money would be on a blacksmithing or costume venture.

#9 Tiana

Disney’s first African-American princess believes firmly in hard work, and that it’s the only way to fulfil your life’s dreams. This attitude means Tiana is likely to be one of the top students in her class at school, alongside Belle, Jasmine and Pocahontas.

Business-savvy Tiana would be best placed on a Peter Jones Enterprise Academy course after completing GCSEs in Business Studies, Economics and at least one language, all of which will be invaluable for getting her venture off the ground. Home Economics and Hospitality & Catering would also be suitable options given Tiana’s waitressing and cooking skills.

Her passion for setting up her own restaurant will help carry her through her studies at a designated academy, which will develop her skills and knowledge in a range of business topics. It would also give her the chance to win one of the annual PJEA awards, and achieve some recognition for her efforts.

If Tiana wanted to be even more ambitious, she could apply for a further course at the PJEA, such as the Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Business Innovation & Growth. Alternatively, her qualification would also allow her to enter higher education, perhaps on a business degree or something more specialised, such as accounting, which would help in the running of her restaurant.

However far Tiana chooses to take her studies, you can be certain her positive, ambitious character will make her business a tasty success either way!

#10 Rapunzel

A career in hairdressing may be stating the obvious here, but this golden-haired Disney princess has other defining features in addition to her super-long locks.

Trapped in a tower for weeks and months, Rapunzel had plenty of time to develop her talents in singing, and (according to the movie version), a number of arts and crafts including painting, drawing and sewing.

While her GCSE subjects might include Art, Design & Technology, and Music, Rapunzel’s best bet for making her way in life is probably in theatre. If her singing voice can attract a handsome prince and make him fall in love with her, then it will certainly go down a storm in the West End.

This also means she’ll have no problem bagging a place at one of the UK’s top drama schools, such as the Guildford School of Acting or the East 15 Acting School in Loughton. However, we hope that whatever path she chooses to follow, she has better sense than to apply for ITV’s X Factor.

#11 Merida

Like Tiana, Merida wants to take control of her own destiny, but not in an entrepreneurial or intellectual way. Excelling in physical skills such as archery, sword-fighting and horse-riding, we see a firm friendship blossoming between her and Mulan, as well as trouble brewing in the back row of the class room!

Wanting to escape the boredom of the classroom as soon as possible, we see Merida opting for a suitable apprenticeship in the Leisure, Tourism and Travel sector, or a BTEC in Physical Education and Sport.

Her adventurous nature may lead her to consider a gap year abroad learning new sports and trying out other thrilling activities such as white water rafting and parachuting. Her military talents are sure to take her far, with a rewarding career in professional sport as either a competitor or a coach. And who knows, maybe she’ll even qualify for the next Olympics?

In conclusion, we’re sure all these lovely princesses would find their way in the real world if they had to, although a BTEC in Preparation for Life and Work might be a useful addition to their further education qualifications.

Luckily for them, they won’t ever have to experience these sort of worries, but imagining what they might do if they had to opens our eyes to all the opportunities available to young people today.

If you happen to be in a situation where you’re stuck deciding what to do next after school or college, remember to explore all these options thoroughly, so you can make an informed decision that will be the right one for you.

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