Choosing the right college
When you decide to study, it is very important that you do your “homework” in selecting a college that is right for you. Here is a list of the things you should consider when you select a college:
- The reputation of the college – what does other students say about this college?
- Accreditation – does the college have the correct registration with the Department of Education?
- Courses offered – does the college have the course you want to do?
- Payment plans – can you pay for your studies on a monthly basis?
- Study material and books – must you buy your own books, or are they included in your course fees? (this can make a significant difference to the total cost of your course!)
- Finishing early – can you study faster if you have the time available, and how does payments work if you finish early?
- What happens when you need help?
- What happens when things go wrong? If for some reason you can’t continue with your studies… how will the college treat you?
I shall now discuss each of these points in short and I shall also focus on the things that makes College SA stand out from the crowd.
When you choose a college, you must do some work to find out whether they have a good reputation or a bad reputation. And an easy way to discover this is to see what their past and current students have to say about them.
An easy way to get information from current and past students about a college, is to look at their comments on HelloPeter. HelloPeter is a Customer Service website where people report good and bad service. So you can go to www.hellopeter.com, and do a search for colleges in general, or do a search for a specific college and read what good or bad things their students have to say about them!
If you want to see some comments from students on College SA, you can go to the link below on the College SA website; or you can go to HelloPeter to see what students say there.
As you know, accreditation is very important when selecting a college. College SA is accredited by FASSET, has been Verified by Umalusi, and is Registered with the Department of Education.
But the real question is how can you check up on the accreditation of a college yourself?
To confirm that a college is accredited with FASSET, you can contact the ETQA Department at FASSET as follows:
Phone: (011) 476 8570
Department of Education Registration
You can contact the Director: Private FET College at the Department of Education, to confirm the Registration of a College of Training Provider. The current Director: Private FET Colleges at the Department of Education is Dr. PM Buthelezi. You can contact the Department of Education on the following details:
Call centre number: 012 312 5878
Please note that Umalusi does NOT accredit or register colleges. Umalusi verify the accreditation of a college (with a SETA) on behalf of the Department of Education.
Please note that SAQA does NOT accredit or register colleges. SAQA accredits SETAs, who then accredits colleges.
When selecting a college, you must of course check if the have the course you want to do! Click Here and go directly to the College SA profile to view a list of courses that they offer.
Many colleges will allow you to pay for your studies on a monthly basis. When signing an agreement to pay your course off on a monthly basis, make sure that you read the whole agreement. You must ensure you understand the terms and conditions under which you are signing up. Often the agreement you sign is a Credit Agreement, and it might allow the college to hand you over or to have you blacklisted if you don’t pay. So make sure you understand the consequences before you sign!
Some colleges will include all your study material in the course fee, and other colleges will send you a book list of books you must buy. Since academic study material can be expensive, it is important that you know beforehand if the course fee includes your study material or not.
Also, you need to understand how long a college will take to send you your study material. You don’t want to discover later on that the college takes very long to send you your study material!
With College SA the study material is motivational and easy to use. All study material is included in the course fee, and the college undertakes to send study material within ten to fifteen days.
What happens if I finish early?
In some case you can actually finish a course in less time that the college recommends.
College SA is the only college that allows you to stop paying for your studies as soon as you have completed your course. You can imagine the benefits if you are paying monthly and you can stop with your payments once you are finished with your course!
What happens when you need help?
If you are going to study via distance learning, you need to ask the college how they will help you if you get stuck with your studies.
At College SA all students have access to friendly and caring Tutors. This means that if you have academic questions or concerns, you have your very own Tutor to help you. You will never be stuck and on your own – our Tutors look forward to providing any assistance to our Students. Our Tutors are experts in their fields and they are there to help you with any questions.
What happens when things go (very) wrong?
Three things tend to go wrong if you study via distance learning:
1. You need to stop studying or to take a break from your studies because something happened in your live, which prevents you from studying. This can be something like extra time that you have to spend at work, or family responsibilities that must come before your studies.
2. You can no longer afford to study, because you got retrenched or you need to use your money for an emergency which has to be dealt with before you can continue studying.
3. You realise that the course you are studying is not right for you, and you want to stop doing it.
College SA is the only college where you can take a break from your studies and from paying us if you need to – without any penalties. For example, if something unforeseen occurs in your life, and you are no longer able to afford your monthly College fees, you can request to take a Study Break, and during that time you won’t have to pay the College.
If you can no longer afford your studies, you can Take-a-Break, or you can arrange with the college that you pay a smaller amount every month, and then pay for more months.
If you realise you are on the wrong course for you, you should stop immediately because you are wasting your time and your money. College SA is the only college that will allow you to cancel your course and to stop paying for the course. You lose the money you paid up to that point, but you won’t have to pay the rest of the course fee. All other colleges will force you to pay the compete course fee, even if you are no longer studying.
If all else fails, you can also approach the Ombudsman to help you resolve a problem with a college. You can contact him by sending an email to Angus@fetombudsman.co.za
In our next article we will look at Matric and discuss live without it!