Our lives seem to get busier by the day, but every now and again it is worth taking some time out to invest in yourself. Short courses not only give you the opportunity to do something totally different, but they can energise other areas of your life, and even in some cases lead to a new career!
With so many choices available, how do you make sure that you choose the right short course before handing over your hard-earned cash? We’ve pulled together our Top 10 tips for choosing your perfect course.
#1 WHY DO YOU WANT TO LEARN?
Understanding what you want to get out of the course is absolutely vital in helping you choose the right one. Are you wanting to try something that is totally different to your day job? Is it time to take up a new hobby? Are you looking to further your career by extending your skill set? Do you want to change career altogether? Understanding why you want to learn will help you achieve your goals.
#2 WHAT ARE YOU INTERESTED IN?
It’s important to think about what you are really interested in when choosing a course. When investing financially in something, you ultimately want to make sure you finish it which is less likely if the subject leaves you bored stiff. Try and pick a subject that inspires you.
#3 WHERE AND WHEN WOULD YOU LIKE TO STUDY?
Do you like learning in the comfort of your own home? Are you happy to travel short distances to classes, or would you prefer to incorporate travel to more far flung destinations into the experience. Do you learn best during the day, evenings or weekends? Would you prefer to do a short course, or a more in-depth class over many days and weeks?
#4 HOW DO YOU LIKE TO LEARN?
This one is a biggie. Do you flourish in a classroom where you interact with the tutor and fellow classmates? Or, would you prefer to learn at your own pace around other commitments and use technology to help you get there? There is a fantastic choice of both classroom-based courses, as well as an increasing number of innovative online courses that gives you great flexibility in terms of how, where and when to learn.
#5 WHO IS THE TEACHER?
A great teacher can lift a course to a whole new level. Check how experienced the teacher is, and whether they have taught the course before.
#6 CAN I AFFORD IT?
Unless money is no object, you will have to decide whether you can afford the course you want. Remember to consider other expenses such as travel and accommodation. If it is going to be tight financially, are you able to pay in instalments to help you spread the cost?
#7 WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO NEXT?
Consider what you want to achieve after the course has finished. Do you simply want to spend time practicing your new skills, or do you intend to progress onto a more advanced level or qualification? Will your preferred course enable you to do what you want to do next?
#8 DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Now you have a good understanding of what you are looking for, it’s time to do your homework and find out more about the options available. You can do a lot of your research online, and do check if there are any taster workshops or open days coming up to help you get an insight into what a course provider offers.
#9 CREATE YOUR SHORTLIST
Once you have done all your homework, it is time to create your shortlist. We recommend having no more than 5 courses on your shortlist otherwise it is hard to come to a final decision. Use all of your research to help you decide which option is best overall for your needs.
#10 TAKE THE PLUNGE
Then be brave! Take the plunge, and look forward to getting started. You never know where it might lead!