Choosing a college is one of the toughest choices you will make straight after school. And studying further is one of the most valuable investments you can make for your future. Having said that, there are certain things to consider before you make the final choice on where you would like to study.
Here are some tips to help you:
1) Make sure you understand your reasons for wanting to go to college
In choosing a college, the first thing you will have to consider is the reason why you want to study. In answering this question, you will also need to consider what you want to study, and whether a suitable course is available.
Now it’s time to think about YOU! Think about your interests, strong points, talents, and personal goals when deciding what college course to study, and what career path to follow. Also think about the opportunities that are available in the job market, and how your individual skills and attributes will help you to make the most of those opportunities.
As you go through the process of making your decision, keep your long-term goals in mind, and make sure that the college you choose will be able to direct you along your chosen path.
Once you have identified your desired path, you can make a list of things that you expect from your college experience. Keep this list in mind for when you have questions later.
2) Find out about college accreditation
It is important to make sure that you study at a recognised and accredited college. As a prospective student, you need to know that your chosen college measures up to certain standards, and that your course will be recognised by future employers.
To check whether a college is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), you can click on the following link: http://www.dhet.gov.za/
And to check whether a college is accredited by the QCTO, click here.
3) Evaluate your options
Make a list of all the colleges you are interested in, and start comparing them. Most of the factors that you will take into consideration will be based on personal preferences and needs. Here are a few of the aspects you can look at when comparing colleges:
- Location: Unless you are choosing a distance learning college, it is important to take into account the costs of travelling to and from college, or of finding suitable accommodation near the college.
- Academics: Does the college offer the course you want to study? Do you meet the entry requirements? Will you be able to complete your coursework and exams in a language that you understand?
- Fees: Are the fees affordable? Can you pay your fees in monthly instalments, or do you have to pay the full amount upfront? Are your textbooks included in the course fee, or will you have to pay extra for textbooks?
- Student support: High-quality academic and administrative support are vital for a successful college experience. Will your college provide you with academic support when it comes to completing your assignments and preparing for exams? Will they help you make sure that your exam registration documents are submitted on time? Will they give you meaningful feedback on your work?
4) Once you have a specific college or colleges in mind, ask yourself a few important questions:
Go back to your long-term goals and your list of expectations regarding your college experience, and ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Is there a registration fee? If so, how much is it, and when is it due?
- Can I study from home, or do I have to attend classes?
- How much time do I have to complete my course?
- Will I have access to individual academic support?
- Will I have to write exams?
- Will I be able to interact with other students?
- Will I be able to work while I study?
- What is the total cost of my course? (including expenses such as textbooks, printing costs, transport and accommodation costs, etc.)
5) Make your final decision
Education is a valuable investment in your future. Make sure that you make an informed decision when choosing a college, and make sure that you are comfortable with your choice.
If you need any assistance with your decision:
Feel free to give our Oxbridge Academy Student Advisors a call on 021 1100 200, or fill in the contact form on our website, and we will make sure you get the assistance you need.