The Checklist

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Thinking of doing a part time course Here are some issues to bear in mind when making your selection

What s your goal
The quickest way to narrow your search is to identify your learning goals. For instance, you may wish to strengthen your career prospects with a business or IT course, or the aim might be to keep fit in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Keeping up your attendance at a course can become challenging, especially with work and familial responsibilities but it s all the easier when your heart is in it and you re striving to achieve something. Don t enrol in Cyber-biotronics because it sounds cool.

What s your level
Sitting in a class trying not to perspire with panic as the horrible realisation that you haven t a notion what s going on sweeps over you like a freezing wave that s nobody s idea of fun. Therefore it s always good to talk to the tutor before enrolling in any course. Make sure you are up to speed and able for what is required, whether it s a language, computer or any kind of evening class.

Is it accessible
So you have found the ideal parrot-grooming class, but there s one problem: it s on the far side of the city and involves a round-trip of roughly three days. Unfortunately it s simply not practical to enrol in a nightcourse in such circumstances. You need to be honest with yourself; will you be able to keep up your attendance without losing your job/partner/sanity Check out all the available Luas, Dart and bus routes to see if public transport offers a solution. Alternatively, options include settling for another course within a feasible distance or checking out the many distance learning options (see below ).

Study at home or in the classroom
Distance learning is an increasingly popular option with Irish learners. It is an avenue of study that has overcome early image problems, and is now recognised and respected by colleges and employers the world over. Studying at home has its obvious benefits: no need to travel, snacking at will, etc. Others however will prefer the sociability and give and take of the classroom. The decision is yours! Read more about distance learning.

For anyone looking to use their course to progress academically or professionally, certification is a key consideration. It enables you to progress to a higher level course; and employers to have an accurate and reliable understanding of your level of expertise. In addition, recognised qualifications allow award-holders seeking to move into self-employment to assure prospective clients of their knowledge and skill levels. So speak to your tutor about whether the qualification on offer is appropriate to your existing skill level, and whether it will help you to achieve your goals. Take a look at our Certification section for everything you need to know about Ireland s National Framework of Qualifications.

Additional costs
What, if any, additional costs are included These might be for books, equipment or special clothing mountain climbing in a Juicy Couture tracksuit is not recommended. Do you need a computer and internet access at home What facilities and equipment are available from the course provider and is a deposit required These are the type of questions to put to the course tutor.

You are now ready to begin your course search!

Frank Bolger

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