Before you begin your course

Before you begin… | January 22nd, 2021

Before you take the plunge

We are, of course, delighted that you have decided to take a course with one of our Member colleges. A great adventure in learning and improving yourself lies before you.

But before you jump in, there are just one or two things to check.

  • Is the course suitable for you?

    It’s no use starting on your journey and finding that the course is either too advanced, or too elementary, for your needs. If you are in any doubt, talk to the course provider and make sure you’re at the right level.

  • Have you read the Terms and Conditions?
    No, really. We know that it’s tempting to click the box without actually reading, and that’s fine if you’re just buying groceries or a ticket to an event. But a distance learning course is a lot more complicated, and the Ts & Cs are there for a reason. Do check them carefully; again if in doubt, check with the course provider.
  • Stay in control – KEEP COPIES!
    Keep a note of what you have paid for your course and when, what you have received and the dates. Make sure you know what to expect. And make sure of your communications – with the College office, its finance department, its student advisors, as well as your tutors.
  • Escape clauses
    Most of our Member Colleges allow you to cancel a course and return any materials within a reasonable period of time – usually 14 days. It is not possible, nor is it fair to the provider, the course authors and tutors, to get halfway through the course before changing your mind. You can stop, of course, but unfortunately the fees cannot then be refunded.
  • What will the course outcome be?
    Assuming that you stick with it and finish the course, to the satisfaction of your tutors, does it lead to a qualification, and if so, will the qualification be useful to you in your career?
    Some subjects have a clear career path – Accountancy and Bookkeeping, for example. The qualifications are well established and clearly set out in the course descriptions. Other subjects are sometimes harder to quantify – the world of Counselling, for example, has several awarding bodies who are seldom in agreement, so great care must be taken here.
    Many courses don’t lead to a recognised qualification at all, either because they are too specific – the engineering subjects offered by NCT are a good example – or simply because the subject doesn’t lend itself to formal qualifications. Creative subjects such as story writing or fine art come within this category.