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Thinking of Studying Next Year? Here Are Some Tips

Australians are realising they need qualifications to get a job. 

According to the ABS, 3 million Australians aged 15-64 were enrolled in post-secondary study last year and this figure is rising every year. About 40 per cent were aged 15-19 years.

Studies have shown that an Australian, who completes a Certificate 111 or IV, will earn on average more than $324,000 over their working life, compared with Year 12 certificate holders. Study is the thing to do.

But education is a big business these days and it can be confusing. There are lots of glossy brochures and whiz-bang websites from Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

Prospective students must be armed with good questions to ask university, TAFE or private providers – these are RTOs – what course is right for them.

As a former programs director and selection officer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT VET and higher education), I answered thousands of questions from prospective students.

Here is some inside knowledge on the type of questions to ask. They will help prospective students make the right choice – and maybe save themselves a lot of money and hassle.

  • What is the student drop-out rate? Meaning – are the students happy?
  • How many students from last year’s graduation have obtained full-time or part time jobs in this program? Meaning – is there industry demand for graduates?
  • What state or Federal Government subsidies or grants are available to help me study? – Meaning – I need financial assistance.
  • What are the weekly contact hours for the course? Meaning – How intensive is it? Good training and education makes you think and work hard.
  • Can I speak to a currently enrolled student? Meaning – I want the inside gossip.
  • When was the last time the curriculum was updated? Meaning – am I learning new information?
  • Are there any hidden costs? Meaning – I didn’t know I had to pay $800 in textbooks or other out of pocket expenses.
  • How many students are there in a tutorial or a training session? Meaning – are you packing students in like sardines?

 These questions get to the ‘nitty gritty’ of whether a university, TAFE or training provider will deliver quality training, teaching and services.

 Training Tips

  • Check that the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) is registered at
  • Ask whether the course will lead to a qualification once training is complete
  • Check that the qualification offered is nationally recognized through
  • Ask what loan schemes and discounts are available

Malcolm King works in the area of generational workforce change at Republic in Adelaide. He was an associate director in Labour Strategy at DEEWR in Canberra and a program director and senior selection officer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

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