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Quiz to Determine Recognition

How do you determine if a College or Course is Credible?

Most people assume a course is credible is it is "recognised" or "accredited" ..... but accreditation schemes vary enormously in their standards; and many of the best courses are not always accredited.

Try the following test for any college, school, or university, and see how it scores:

 Question Points  
  • Can more than 50% of graduates readily find work soon after graduating?
  • Can more than 75% of graduates readily find work soon after graduating?
  • Does the course provide a foundation that kick starts life long learning?
  • Has the institution been established for a long time (over 5 years)?
  • Do all staff have significant industry experience in their discipline and at a level above what they teach?
  • Do all staff have formal qualifications at or above the level they teach?
  • Is the course constantly and quickly changing, in response to changes within the discipline?
  • Is the institution or are staff members of industry organisations in disciplines taught
  • Is the institution visible (eg. Is it seen readily in internet searches, magazine ads, at trade shows, known to industry leaders, etc)
  • Does the institution maintain and promote an open and ethical policy of dealing with students (eg. publishing refunds policies, complaints policies, etc)
  • Is the institution or any of it's courses formally recognised or accredited by one or more government accreditation or recognition bodies somewhere in the world
  • Is the institution subject to auditing by an external body (eg. an accreditation body -government or non government; Quality Assurance authority, etc)
  • Is there a formal relationship (eg. affiliation, partnership etc) established with one or more other credible businesses, colleges, schools or universities.
Institutions that have more points could be considered more credible.
Checklist for comparing schools/colleges/unis:
  • Tutors - Qualifications and experience, how much access you have to them (some only lecture and assess, others answer questions but only at certain times, some are available to dialogue with students any time). Do tutors have expertise in the area you are interested in?
  • Recognition – depending on the industry you are in, recognition will be more or less important. Of most importance is, will you develop the appropriate skills and knowledge recognised by industry bodies that will allow you to work in your area of study (either for yourself or for an employer). Look to see if employers are supporting the institution and the outcome for past graduates. In some industries government accreditation and recognition may be important, for example in medicine and law. When looking to a course solely on government recognition, make sure that the quality of the course is still present. Schools that focus heavily on assessment and following criteria (which may be limited), may provide a less complete learning experience for the student.
  • Reputation – A good school will have a good reputation, especially if it has been around for a long time. ACS Distance Education was established in 1979 and now has over 700 courses.  Are potential employers familiar with the school? Is a qualification from the school held in high regard? With the advent of the internet and social media, if past students have had a negative experience of the school, their opinion is much more visible than in the past, so do due diligence around this.  Find out more about ACS here.
  • Visibility – being seen in publications, ranked well on the internet, exhibiting at shows etc., may indicate a significant involvement in industry. But it may indicate no more than a lot of spending on marketing; you need to determine which is the case.
  • Success of graduates – you can assess a school’s credibility by looking to past students. Find out graduate’s level of satisfaction of the course (look for testimonials), and try to ascertain their level of success in the “real world” after completing the course – were they successful in getting work, starting a business, getting promotions in their work, being self confident and happy in life. See our Student Testimonials here.
Remember Studying is about learning and the benefits of learning go well beyond just getting a job!  
What is the point in getting a job if you are ill prepared to do the job well? Be confident in what you do, and be happy with your lot in life.





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