Higher education providers
Higher education can be completed at universities or private colleges.
- Universities: offer courses from a wide range of subject areas. They are much larger and always have multiple campuses. Due to their size they can offer more accommodation, support services and student clubs.
- Private colleges: tend to specialise in one particular field of study. For example, they may be a business, hotel management or music college. They will offer courses in that area only. This means that they tend to be much smaller than universitites and have smaller campuses. It also means that everyone studying there will be interested in the same field.
Both universities and private colleges offer undergraduate and postgraduate study and the same high standard of education. As you research the courses of interest to you it is worth considering the areas of speciality and which type of provider is best for you. Smaller campuses mean that it can be easier to meet other students and to get in touch with staff members. Larger campuses tend to have more events and entertainment options. In the end, it is up to you to decide which course is best for you and which is the best education provider for your needs.
Technical and Further Education (TAFE)
TAFE institutes in Australia are government owned and have a long history of helping international students reach their career goals. TAFE offers an extensive range of courses, covering a wide range of subject areas and providing practical skills and training for a huge variety of career possibilities. International students attend TAFE institutes to complete courses that range from certificate to postgraduate level. TAFE also offers English language courses, which range in length from four to 48 weeks.
Some common reasons for international students choosing to enrol in TAFE are:
- to improve their chances of being accepted into university level-study
- to gain practical, work-based skills to improve their employment prospects
- to take advantage of the wide variety of courses on offer
- to enjoy the individual attention that small class sizes allow
Courses and qualifications
Qualifications offered at TAFE are:
- certificate I–IV
- advanced diploma
- vocational graduate certificate
- vocational graduate diploma
Pathways to university
TAFE provides students with a number of education pathways to university. In addition to providing assistance with entrance requirements, TAFE courses can also be counted as part of your higher education study. For example, students who graduate with a diploma from a TAFE institute may receive up to two or three semesters of credit toward a related university degree. There is also the benefit of having two Australian academic awards at the end of your degree.The exact amount of credit allowed towards a degree depends on the university, the degree course the student wishes to enrol in and the TAFE qualification completed. Consult the university international office, academic registrar or faculty dean to find out what credit can be obtained.
Pathways to the workforce
A TAFE qualification can improve your prospects in the job market. Due to the practical emphasis, a TAFE qualification can be a valuable addition to your degree.General entry requirements
To enter the TAFE system, you usually need to have reached a study level equivalent to the Australian Year 10, 11 or 12. Some courses have subject or work experience requirements. For entry to art and design courses, you may need to submit a portfolio. You should also check with the individual college or institute for English language entry requirements and commencement dates.
Advances in technology have led to the expansion of distance education opportunities in Australia. There is now a wide selection of Australian qualifications that can be completed from the comfort of home.
What is distance education? Distance education is when students do not have to attend classes as part of their study. All study materials are made available to students through internet resources, email and/or postal services. Higher education institutions at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and TAFE colleges offer distance education courses. With the number of courses available for study by distance education growing rapidly this is becoming an increasingly popular option for many people such as students living overseas and people who work full time.Distance education delivery
Distance education today is very different now to earlier courses (which were called 'correspondence courses'), when all contact was impersonal and by post. Today, international students can access distance education in many different ways. Students may have audio access to lectures posted on the web, which they can listen to at any convenient time. Email offers a quick and personal link to lecturers, tutors and other students. Increasingly, course materials are accessed via the internet and libraries offer distance education students access to library resources. With the current resources, distance education students are not disadvantaged in any way and can be confident they will receive the same high quality education as on-campus students.
The entry requirements are generally the same as for on-campus students. You should always check with the education provider for their course entry requirements. For some courses, you can apply and start studying at any time. For other courses you need to apply at a certain time, usually towards the end of the year. Check application due dates with your chosen education provider early on so that you will have plenty of time to complete your application.