31 Jan 2017
1. Do they have your course?
This may seem obvious, but don’t forget to check that they have your course AND that the course code matches the one you are currently studying.
FYI the course code is the string of letters and numbers that come after the course name. It’s unique and identifies things like the study area and level (and other important info). For example, a Diploma of Accounting’s course code is FNS50215 (the FNS indicates a financial study area and the beginning of the numbers, 5, indicates is it a diploma course according to the Australian Qualifications Framework).
2. Can you study your way?
Is the course offered via a study mode that suits you (whether that’s full-time because you’re keen to get it done, part-time because you work, online so you can study in your PJs, or another way altogether)? Do they have study timetables and/or schedules accessible (either online or by request) that work with your life and commitments?
Check out our website for different study modes available and what they mean or involve (just in case you’re not sure or haven’t considered different options that may work best for you).
3. What and how do you pay?
When you’re looking at courses at different RTOs, it’s fair to say prices may vary. Consider whether the differences in prices can be justified (by things like extra support or less face-to-face time) and if you are comfortable with the difference.
Money can be a headache for a lot of people, and you should check whether the RTO you’re considering can offer you different ways to pay for your course. This may include full fee options, subsidies and concessions. Do they have Government or other funded courses available, and if you’re studying a Diploma or above are their courses VET Student Loan approved? Do they offer other financial support or scholarships? Can you arrange a payment plan?
4. Are they a quality provider?
Figuring out if an RTO is a quality provider can be tricky, and quality means something different to everyone. Some basic things that will help you figure it out could be:
- Are they registered to provide the course?
- Can you access course information and student policies and procedures?
- What are their training and student outcomes? How many students complete? How many go onto further study or employment?
- Do they have supportive, industry experienced teachers?
- Are the facilities up to scratch and what you’d expect to see/use in industry?
- Are the learning resources relevant and current?
- Is the learning hands-on and practical? Is industry placement required? Do they provide or help find work experience?
- Have they won any awards? What for?
- Can you access annual reports to review past performance?
- Do they participate in research?
- Are they actively engaged in industry and policy discussions at a state and national level? Do they contribute to and/or influence these discussions?
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has a range of helpful information about the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector for students, including a very useful Fact Sheet for choosing a training or education provider. This fact sheet also contains a consumer checklist that will help you review organisations and choose the right provider.
5. How do they support your studies?
Before you enrol in any course, RTOs must provide you with a range of information including your rights and obligations, the training and assessment they provide, and any support services available.
Support services available will differ from organisation to organisation, but they should offer at least basic student support.
Do you want or need:
- student support,
- disability services,
- Indigenous student support ,
- academic support,
- access to a library network,
- or any other form of support?
If you want to change from your current RTO to TAFE Queensland South West, we can help. Contact us today!
To streamline the process, it’s useful if you have all your paperwork and details ready to go including a copy of your results or academic transcript and your USI.
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