Why is it important to choose the right academic institute?
Choosing to further your studies via distance learning is a big decision and with the right academic institute, you have a huge advantage on your side.
You can enjoy many benefits once you put the effort into choosing the right institute:
- A recognised institute will provide the right exposure to the relevant subjects and fields of study.
- An experienced distance learning provider will offer the freedom and enjoyment required for studies.
- A reputable institute will guide students in finding better jobs.
- A trustworthy establishment will guide the students to greater heights.
The importance of choosing the right college becomes significant. Studying through the right college, university or technikon would make a big difference in your career path. Sometimes choosing a wrong institute may even spoil your career.
How do you know if it’s the right choice for you?
The ideal distance learning provider should have the following values and characteristics:
- It needs to be accredited;
- It should offer recognised programmes that are industry relevant;
- It should be recognised by professional bodies;
- It must offer affordable and quality education;
- It will understand and support the needs of distance learning students;
- It should be in regular contact with its students and motivate them;
- Course completion should be a high priority;
- It should employ qualified tutors that are specialists in their fields of expertise.
Things to consider when choosing a distance learning provider
According to law, all course providers have to register with the Department of Education. Check if your institute of choice are registered and the programme is accredited. See the contact details below:
Department of Higher Education and Training
Contact them at 012 312 5254 or email@example.com, or contact the call centre on 080 087 2222 for more information.
Department of Higher Education and Training
Call Centre Number: 012 312 5878 • Fax: 012 323 8817/9838 or visit them:http://www.education.gov.za
Many people consider an institute’s reputation to be the most important thing. A great reputation does not necessarily mean that students receive a great education. It all depends on what you value as important. You can and should talk to students who are studying at the colleges you are interested in to see what they like and dislike about it. You should not be looking for recommendations as much as information. An institute is not necessarily right for you because its name is familiar. Employers are looking for knowledge and skills, not popular names.
Consider the institute’s affordability. Cheaper is not necessarily better and the most expensive provider does not guarantee success. You need to find a balance between quality and service that is within your budget. Investigate your selected programme and find out what the hidden costs are, for instance postage, equipment, technologies, examinations and institute membership fees. The ideal distance course provider should include everything in the initial quote and offer a payment plan.
Student support and Service
This is something that distinguishes highly recommended academic institutes from the rest. Institutes who make service delivery a high priority are your best chance for success. Make sure you will have access to your tutor and that the provider is driven towards course completion. You know you are at the right place when they have a significant number of students returning for further studies or advanced courses.
Make a decision in 3 easy steps:
- Start by asking yourself: who am I, what are my goals and why do I want to study?
You need to examine yourself and your reasons for further studies before you start your search. What are your abilities and strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you want out of life? Talk to your family, friends and high school counsellors as you ask yourself these questions. The people who know you best can help you the most with these important issues.
- Know what you want from your college
Make a list of criteria you feel the perfect college needs to meet and then evaluate and compare colleges on these grounds.
Start by visiting the various colleges’ websites and shortlist the ones that appeal to you in terms of reputation and academic programmes. You can use this handy template:
College Comparison Template
Acceptance Tests required
Your programme offered
Application fee, deposits
Additional costs (e.g. computer)
Membership to institutes
Percentage receiving aid
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