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Are you considering College?

When choosing a higher education course, think about which subjects interest you, the type of qualification you want and which style of studying suits you best.

Choosing your course

There are a range of subjects and courses available which can help you get new jobs, so it's important to research what's right for you. 

Many courses are work-related, and lead straight into a job such as nursing or landscape gardening. Others are academic and range from subjects you may have studied before in school. 

You’ll need to look past the course title because courses with exactly the same name may differ a lot. You should look carefully at the differences between courses within your subject before deciding which to apply for. 

For example, if you’re interested in construction but wish to use your creative skills, you may be better suited to a building design management course than a building project management course. 

Course differences and entry requirements

Higher education courses are put together by each individual college, so what's included and how they are delivered, may vary enormously. 

Colleges set their own entry requirements for higher education courses so they may really vary. Two colleges providing the same course may have different entry requirements so you may have to think about a different course if you don't meet their minimum entry requirements. 

Styles and types of learning

You'll need to think about the style of learning that best suits you, as there are quite a few options, including: 

  • learning full-time
  • learning part-time
  • flexible learning routes like e-learning or distance learning courses

While it’s important to study a subject you enjoy, if one of your reasons for going into higher education is related to a career, it’s worth thinking about what type of job you want when you’ve finished your course. 

Choosing where to study

Where you study can be almost as important as what you study.

Issues to consider

Although course and location are really important when you're choosing a place to study, it's also worth thinking about: 

  • size of the college
  • entry requirements for your chosen course - these can vary across institutions
  • tuition fees and other expenses
Finding out more about courses and colleges

Once you’ve got a shortlist of courses that appeal to you, it’s worth looking at some of the other sources of information about them like independent reports. These provide information on the numbers of students who finished the course, student satisfaction and more. 

Support during your course

It’s worth researching the help and support that would be available to you at different colleges. This may vary widely depending on which college you attend and the type of help and support you need. All colleges will have support staff to help you with problems. 

If you have a disability

Knowing beforehand about the support available can be especially important if you have educational needs. Colleges have an obligation to make provision for disabled students. You may also qualify for extra financial help.