Picking a College and Course that Speaks to You
So it’s that time of year and you are probably wondering what you are going to do with your future. Should you study further or maybe take a gap year and travel?
These questions are completely normal, but ones you need to start thinking seriously about; as your decisions today will certainly change and mould your path of tomorrow. Studying after school is a must, as on average, not only does further tertiary education offer graduates more jobs to choose from, but graduates also typically earn more than non-graduates.
With the amount of different programmes and courses on offer and of course, the various establishments to choose from – it can seem quite daunting as to where to begin - especially as you are likely to be getting input from family members and friends as well.
As a starting point and probably most critically, you need to understand what career or even industry you are interested in. Look at things like; what do you enjoy? What are you good at? Or even examine what careers and skills are in demand, as understanding these aspects will make it easier to enter the workplace. Remember you are working towards finding a career so your chosen field of study needs to be focused around subjects you feel drawn to and could see yourself doing now, and into the future. Another great starting point is doing an online career aptitude test or visiting an MSC Business College campus, who offer free career tests.
Once you have a career path in mind, then it’s time to have a look at the different universities and colleges available. Word of mouth is always a great starting point – but remember to shop around in your area – or even nationally, if you are considering moving. Remember, you are looking for a place that appeals to you, so take your time and visit the different colleges to get a feel for the faculty and the campus.
Here are some points to consider:
- Does the college offer the career path you are interested in?
- Reputation. You want peace of mind that you are getting a good education and have chosen an established name in education – so look for a college that has been around for a number of years and has campuses across the country.
- Location. Is the college on major transport routes? You want it make sure it is easily accessible, especially if you are using public transport.
- Is the college accredited and registered with the correct authoritative body? You want a qualification that is recognised; otherwise you’re wasting your time and money.
- How are the education programmes or courses delivered? Is it via correspondence or face-to-face? Does it utilise technology or a more traditional approach? Essentially, you want a ‘blended’ approach, of face-to-face and technology, as this will allow you to work at your own pace and still discuss critical areas or hard to grasp concepts with a lecturer, which gives the best possible learning experience.
- The fee structure - what do the fees include and exclude? Often you are given a price of a course, but still have to pay extra for learning material, textbooks etc. So make sure you know what all the costs involve – you want the best value.
- The campus itself - does the campus look clean and safe? Does it have good equipment and technology? You are going to be spending a lot of time on campus, so you want to make sure you are in a positive environment and one that offers good infrastructure and access to facilitate your studies.
- What are they staff like? Remember these are the people who will play a major role in your development, so you want faculty staff that are warm and friendly and have your best interests at heart.
You are entering the next stage of your education chapter – and it’s an exciting one. There are lots of choices and options available. Remember, this is your education, your development, your future and your right. Don’t compromise and make the right choice!