GET MORE FROM A SHORT COURSE

FOL­LOW TH­ESE FIVE SIM­PLE TIPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE BAP­TISM OF FIRE THAT SHORT COUR­SES CAN PRO­VIDE

Computer Arts - - Industry Issues -

1 Do your re­search

With three months of your life and a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money on the line, it pays to re­search your course thor­oughly to find out if it’s right for you. At­tend open days, read ar­ti­cles and blogs from course grad­u­ates, and speak to as many ex-stu­dents as you pos­si­bly can. They’ve been where you are, so are very likely to be open and will­ing to dis­cuss the pros and cons of the cour­ses they’ve taken.

2 Be pre­pared to work

In­ten­sive short cour­ses re­ally are that – in­ten­sive – so you’ll have to give all your time and energy over to them through­out the whole pe­riod. With days typ­i­cally for­mat­ted more like work­ing nine-to-five at a stu­dio than just a se­ries of lec­tures, you’ll also have read­ing, home­work and projects to work on in the evenings. So make sure you clear your sched­ule com­pletely, and don’t ex­pect to take any time off dur­ing the course.

3 Take ad­van­tage of con­tacts

Most col­leges at­tract guest speak­ers from in­dus­try, and the course tu­tors will typ­i­cally have in­dus­try links too. There’s also usu­ally a strong ethos of help for grad­u­ates look­ing to find work af­ter the course, but you won’t have every­thing done for you. Be sure to make a good im­pres­sion (don’t miss dead­lines!) and care­fully cul­ti­vate any con­tacts you make in or­der to help you land that first job or free­lance gig af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

4 Ask for help

By their very na­ture, no one finds in­ten­sive short cour­ses easy, and there prob­a­bly will be ar­eas of the ex­pe­ri­ence that you’ll strug­gle with. When that hap­pens, don’t be afraid to ask your course lead­ers for ad­vice, help and sup­port; they’ve seen it all be­fore, and it’s what they’re there for.

5 Do it for the right rea­sons

Don’t just choose a short course over a full de­gree to save money; de­cide whether it re­ally is the right op­tion for you and your ca­reer de­vel­op­ment. If you’re the sort of per­son who’ll get more out of an aca­demic en­vi­ron­ment, where there’s more time for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with dif­fer­ent ap­proaches and to fo­cus longer on briefs, a univer­sity de­gree may be the bet­ter op­tion.

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