Every tertiary education institution is different, not only because of the range of courses they offer and their location, but also because of their unique character. If you know how to tell institutions apart, it will be much easier to find the one that suits you best. Here we list some important factors that you should consider when choosing an institution.
Field of study: Some institutions offer a wide range of courses, while others specialise in one or two particular fields. If you have a specific career in mind, you may find that only a small number of institutions offer an appropriate course. Even if a large number of institutions offer courses in your study area, you may find that some really excel in the field.
Location: Institutions operate in different locations in Australia, so your choice may be governed by where you would prefer to study. For example, you may prefer to study at an institution based in a regional location over a metropolitan location. You might even choose an institution with multiple campuses, so you can study in more than one location. Another option is to choose a location that specialises in your field (Queensland for marine science or Western Australia for mining engineering, for example).
Institution sector and qualification type: A great way to narrow your options is by determining the appropriate institution sector and type of qualification for your needs. Would you prefer to study at a university, TAFE institute or private college? Do you want to complete a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification or an undergraduate degree? Sometimes your choice will be limited by your future career (for example, a chef will usually need to study a VET qualification at a TAFE institute or private college, while a lawyer will need to complete a degree at university).
Costs and entry requirements: Tuition costs, academic entry requirements and English language entry requirements differ between institutions, even for similar courses. The alternative entry pathways available (such as foundation programs and English language courses) will also vary between institutions.
Student services and facilities: Institutions offer different facilities (such as sporting facilities, student accommodation, libraries and study spaces) and student services (such as academic assistance, careers and accommodation services, counselling and health services). Some institutions may also offer special facilities in your field (such as a health clinic for nursing students). Ensure that your institution offers the facilities and services that you require, as well as special support for international students.
Atmosphere: Every institution has a different atmosphere on campus, so make sure you conduct a lot of research into what the institution is like so you know that it will suit you. Some are busy, while others are relaxed; some are modern, while others are traditional. Ask staff and students what the atmosphere is like and, if possible, visit the institution to ensure its atmosphere suits you.