How to choose a tertiary institution
If you are looking to pursue your dream career, you need to make sure that you are as prepared as possible with the necessary theory and eventually practical know-how needed to do the job once you graduate, says Greg Fillmore, Rosebank College Managing Director.
With so many institutions to choose from, students today are in the fortunate as well as confusing position of choosing an institution that best aligns with their goals and expectations, adds Fillmore. Rosebank College, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) offers some tips on where to start.
Decide what to study
The first place to start is to decide what it is you want to study. Once that decision is made it is easier to figure out which institution is better suited to prepare you for your future career. For example if you would like to study medicine you would have to study at a university and not an FET college. Take some time to read up on the various institutions and their offerings - this will open up your mind to the variety of careers that exist out there.
Look for quality
We've all heard about fly-by-night educational institutions which are not registered with the Department of Education or relevant body as institutions of learning. These institutions mislead prospective students into believing that they are legally registered and accredited bodies. Make sure that you check whether your institution of choice is accredited and what current students have to say about it. You need authentic qualifications to enter the world of work. In this way your employer knows that you are the best candidate for the job. Also consider the quality of the lecturers. What do other students have to say about their lecturing ability?
Can you afford your institution of choice?
Unfortunately tertiary education is generally costly. There are also different types of institutions, namely private or public. Public institutions are funded by the government, while private institutions are independent and rely on full tuition fees to subsidise student places. Consider financial limitations such as if you need a bursary, a student loan or a government loan? By planning ahead you can apply for financial assistance in time.
Will your institution help you find employment?
University degrees or diplomas no longer hold the promise of jobs for young South Africans as hundreds of thousands of graduates battle to find work. What gives institutions such as Rosebank College the edge is their willingness to assist their IIE graduates find employment. Through the Graduate Empowerment Programme (GEP), six IIE graduates from Rosebank College are being placed in employment each day. Find an institution that will assist you to increase your chances of employability as that is the main reason why you are studying further in the first place.
According to a survey by Stanley Hutcheson & Associates the primary challenge facing South African students is transport costs. According to the survey, students spend about R1,100 a month on transport. Make sure that you can get to campus easily. Is your institution along public transport routes, and is there parking facilities if you have your own car? Location will also give you more access to accommodation options to suit your budget.
As a student you will need access to certain facilities such as a library and internet facilities. Free WiFi should be a pre-requisite. This will come in handy when having to do research for your assignments. Access to a computer at a computer lab also makes your student life experience a lot more pleasant.
Lastly spend a day at your preferred tertiary institution to get a feel for the culture of the campus. Some institutions are more academic than others, while others promote a balance of both academic and social life. You will spend the next three to four years of your life at that tertiary institution so make sure it's a place you will be happy to wake up to every morning.
Written by Karabo Keepile