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HOW TO FIND A GOOD INSTITUTE?

Selecting the right higher education institute is one of the most important decisions which determines your future. Ideally, this should be a once in a life time decision - made right first time! Otherwise, you might end up loosing your precious time and money.

What are the common mistakes?

With the large number of institutes in Sri Lanka, offering different higher education options, it is sometimes very confusing to decide. Here are some of the mistakes both parents and students make.

Following your friends

Most of the time it is very tempting to follow and stick with your school friends when it comes to deciding on where to go. Some students choose courses and institutes based on their friend's choice and preferences. They might end up following a course that does not suit them and/or in an institute that may not help their career goals. Both parents and students need to understand that this decision is one of the most important decisions you make in life. Therefore, you need to get as much information as possible about the course and the institute before you decide.

Discounts and offers are not the only deciding factors

Some institutes offer good discounts and offers to prospective students. When the courses that suits you (please see our CAREER GUIDANCE page) are offered by many institutes, then it is good to consider the discounts and offers as one of the important factors. However, you should not take discounts and offers as the first deciding factor of selecting your higher education path which determines your entire future.

Not asking the right questions

Sometimes people do not ask the right questions and rush into decisions without proper information. Most institutes are willing to provide full information, however, you should do your own research before you visit and ask the right questions. As a guide, see Important Factors below.

Not knowing available loan schemes and financial assistance

Some courses and institutes may seem too expensive, although you feel they are the right ones for you. However, you should not choose less suitable alternatives without looking for financial assistance like, education bank loans, scholarships, industrial sponsorships and payment plans.


Important factors you should consider

To avoid making mistakes, consider the following important factors when choosing an institute.

Quality of education

Look for the quality of the academic panel in terms of their qualifications and experience. Find out; the average class size of lectures and tutorial sessions; availability of academic staff for additional support when needed; how much of exposure students get e.g. competitions, industry visits; where relevant, is there an industry placement / internship as part of the course?; the use of modern teaching methods and learning environments.

Parent University / Awarding body

Local and international recognition of the parent university or the awarding body is a good indicator of the recognition of the qualification you get. This is especially important when you use your qualification for further / postgraduate studies abroad. Look for the rank of the parent university.

Recognition of the Institute

Is the institute recognized by the industry? Ask a few people from the relevant industry. Where do past graduates work? What are their salary levels?

Recommendations

Talk to current sutdents. Talk to students recently graduated from the institute/course. If the institute has been there for a while, talk to someone who graduated some time ago. Do they recommend the institute? For what reasons are they recommending?

Facilities

All institutions must provide at least a minimum level of teaching and learning environment for the students. Some institutes provide a lot of student recreational facilities, while other institutions tend to be behind. However, this must be viewed in a balanced way because it is not the only indicator of high quality academic delivery.

Soft skills development opportunities

Does the institute provide additional support? English language and communication skills programs? Do they encourage students to go for competitions related to academic and non academic? What are the avaialable extra curricular activities? sports? events?

Employability after graduation

Emloyability is one of the most important factors. What is the employability of students graduating from the institute? Do they get jobs as soon as they graduate? Do they have to wait for a while? Do they get a job related to their course? What is their starting salary compared to students of other institutes?

Cost and value for money

Think of the cost after evaluating all of the above factors. Make sure you ask for the full cost of completing a course at the chosen institute (including exam costs, library deposits, facilities deposits etc..). Can you afford the course at this particular institute? If not, are there any payment plans? Can you obtain a bank loan? Are there any scholarship / industry sponsorship schemes? If you still cannot afford and need to go for an alternative option, you need to compare the above factors against their costs and make the decision that gives you best value for money.


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