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
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.