Q & A
As mentioned previously, there are six main questions one needs to answer once you’ve made the decision to pursue your studies. They are:
- Why do I want to study?
- What do I want to study?
- Where do I want to study?
- How long do I want to study?
- How am I going to pay for my studies?
- Do I have support?
The first question that we asked you to consider is why you want to study. This is such an important question and we hope that you will spend some time answering it. Did you know that the reason why you decide to study can influence how successful you will be in your studies? Here are some common reasons why people decide to further their studies:
- Because you are forced to by a parent or a spouse;
- Because you don’t have any other educational qualifications;
- Because you need to improve your qualifications in order to receive a promotion;
- Because you need to improve your qualifications in order to receive a salary increase;
- Because you need some kind of relevant qualification that will allow you to make a career change;
- Because you are starting to become bored with your current career and you would like to consider going into something completely different;
- Because you have some spare time and you would like to use that time wisely;
- Because you are unemployed and you know that a good education will improve your chances of getting a job.
Unless you have a good reason why you want to study, you probably won’t have the willpower and motivation to make a success of it. You really need to be inspired and willing to further your education, as you will be investing a lot of time and money in it. If the reasoning behind your choice is sound, your mindset would be right and you’ll be able to realise your potential!
Do you know what you want to study? There are so many Colleges and Training Institutes out there offering hundreds and hundreds of courses. How will you know what course to choose? Make sure you have spent some time thinking about your personal interests and your career goals. What you want to study will also be influenced by why you want to study. For example, if your boss tells you that need a specific qualification so that you can get a promotion, then you know that there is a specific course you need to do.
Also, when you make an enquiry at a College, check to see if they can offer you any guidance in helping you to choose the right programme of study for you! The fields of interest are vast and extremely diverse, and the course possibilities are endless. Before you can choose a College, you first need to have a good idea of which direction you want to head in, as different Colleges specialise in different programmes. To make things easier for you, we have identified the following categories:
- Business Studies
- Bookkeeping and Accounting Studies
- Child Day Care Studies
- Computer Studies
- Counselling Studies
- Décor and Design Studies
- Event Management Studies
- Financial Management Studies
- Forensic Science Studies
- Graphic Design Studies
- Human Resources Management
- Investigation Studies
- Landscaping Studies
- Photographic Studies
- Policing Studies
- Project Management Studies
- Radio and Sound Engineering Studies
- Secretarial Studies
- Sport and Fitness Studies
- Technical Studies
- Tourism Studies
- Web Design Studies
- Writing Studies
Once you have narrowed down your options, choosing a College that suits you best becomes much easier.
Where you want to study is an important question. This question doesn’t only relate to the physical location of the College or academic institute, but also to the type of learning involved, the qualifications obtainable and the reputation it has in the academic world.
The question of which College to study with is a decision that will require a lot of research. Don’t simply enrol at a College or education provider just because it’s a name you’ve heard before or you think it offers good courses. Always do your research!
One shouldn’t underestimate the value of researching a College’s reputation. If a College has a lot of unhappy students, then you probably will not want to register with that College. You also need to make sure there are no hidden costs when you enrol at a College or academic institutes, as you don’t want unpleasant surprises later on.
When it comes to the question regarding the qualifications obtainable, we would like you to think about whether you require a Certificate, a Diploma, an Advanced Diploma or a Degree, as not all academic institutions offer the same level of qualifications. You need to make very sure whether the course you are interested in is a full qualification or a short course, as you’ll be investing a lot of time and money in your studies.
With the type of learning we imply the mode of delivery of a College. Your two main choices to consider are full-time or part-time study and distance learning:
- Full-time or part-time study: This type of learning implies attending classes and having face-to-face interaction with tutors and other students on campus.
- Distance learning: This type of education is also known as home study, as you have the freedom and flexibility to study when and where it suits you best. You don’t have to attend any classes and you have the convenience to work at your own pace.
Would you prefer to study a full qualification or are you interested in short courses? The answer to this question would obviously depend on the reason why you want to study, as this would differ from student to student. Somebody who needs a higher qualification in order to receive a promotion might need to study a full course, whereas someone who is studying purely for self-enrichment could enrol for short courses. Another contributing factor would be what you want to study, as the volume of work differs from subject to subject and qualification to qualification. It goes without saying that obtaining a degree would involve a longer period of study than that of a certificate.
Here is a quick indication of how long each qualification usually takes to complete:
- Short courses: Usually between 3 and 6 months programmes.
- Certificate: Usually 1 year programmes
- Diploma: Usually between 1 and 2 year programmes
- Advanced Diploma: Usually 2 year programmes
- Degree: Usually 3 year programmes
Please note this is only a rough indication and that study periods could vary from college to college.
Have you considered the financial implications of completing your studies? This aspect of studying is something that often frightens prospective students. In most instances – unless you receive a bursary – you will have to pay for your studies. Paying for your studies includes the College Fees, Registration Fees, Exam Fees, and other miscellaneous fees. For example, not all institutes provide you with textbooks. They might expect you to pay for them, and some Colleges have external exams that would also be additional costs.
If you want to give the financial implications of studying more thought, please click on the following link.
Something that is often overlooked is the role of friends and family. Having friends and family that will support and encourage you is something that is highly recommended. Studying requires a lot of time and dedication. As humans, we tend to lose focus and motivation. Make sure that you have some supportive people in your life who will lift up your spirits when needed.
Having a study calendar is a great form of support, as it would constantly remind you of what you’re doing and where you’re headed. Use it to indicate registration dates, exam dates, college holidays, and any other important events, and put it on your fridge or somewhere in the house where everyone can see it. This will also remind the other people in your house that you’re busy studying, and they would probably be more considerate towards you when they know you’re preparing for a test or you’re stressed because you need to complete an assignment.
A progress poster is another visual support tool, and just like the study calendar, you could put it up where everyone in your household can see it. By indicating your progress during the year, you will remind yourself of what you have already achieved and still need to do, and when your family and friends see this, they will keep you motivated and encourage you to do even better. Having this kind of support is bound to keep you inspired!