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Before You Consider Private Education: 3Rs For You To Think About
For better job prospects?
Consider carefully whether a private education qualification will be recognised by your prospective employer or the industry. Speak to prospective employers, industry associations as well as past graduates about the employment outcome. For professional qualifications such as law, accountancy, medical and engineering, it is best to find out if the qualification is recognised by the relevant professional bodies in Singapore.
For career movement or transition?
Consider if the education that you intend to pursue is relevant to your future career. Will it equip you with the necessary skills and competencies that employers look for?
Can you cope with the academic rigour and assignment deadlines?
You may perceive courses offered by private schools to be more flexible and that you can take your time to complete your studies. In reality, you are still required to meet the academic and examinations requirements set by the school, and extra time would be incurred if you need to re-take a test or module.
Ask yourself if you are prepared to cope with the academic rigour, the tight schedule and assignment deadlines. Managing your time between school, work and other personal commitments would require discipline and perseverance. This is especially so if you are thinking of working full-time and studying part-time. The pressure to cope with attending classes and meeting both work and school deadlines can get too overwhelming for some. Those who are not able to cope may eventually defer or drop out from the course.
Can you fund your studies?
Another consideration is whether you will be able to cope financially. Courses in private schools can be expensive. Weigh your financial situation and obligations before enrolling in a private course. You should not commit if you are not certain whether you can pay for the course without putting too much financial burden on yourself or your family.
If you are not financially prepared as yet, consider delaying your further studies and going out to work first. This allows you to save up, and at the same time, gain working experience. It may help you to better understand the demands of your chosen industry and decide if the education that you intend to pursue matches your career goals. Additionally, with some working experience, you might even turn out to be more sought after by companies than your peers who only have paper credentials.
Your expected returns may not exceed the investments that you put into your private education
You may want to weigh the costs (time, effort, money and opportunity cost) against the gains (possible future earnings and new skills) that you would expect out of your further studies with a private school, and decide whether it is worthwhile to do so.
Private schools may make exaggerated claims
Some private schools or its agents may over-promise or make exaggerated claims in order to attract prospective students to sign up for their courses. These claims can be related to recognition of qualifications, employment outcomes and cost and duration of courses. Always be wary of claims that seem too good to be true or verbal promises made by the school. Private schools must be able to substantiate all the claims that they make with documentary evidence. Please contact CPE if you hear or read such exaggerated claims. Read our advisory for more details.
Private schools may close due to various reasons
Private schools are commercial businesses and may close down for various reasons. There were private schools that close down because they were not making profit. Should this happen, your studies may be disrupted due to the required administrative work involved. If there’s a need to continue your course with another private school, you would also have to adjust to the new school environment and policies.
Private schools may also relocate their premises in the midst of your course. The new location may make it less accessible for you to attend classes. Hence, consider if you are willing to travel should your school relocate to a new place which is far from your home.
You may not get back a full refund if you withdraw from your course
Different schools have different refund policies. You might not get a full refund even if you have not started classes or have reasons for withdrawal such as relocation or moving back to your home country. You will be bound by the withdrawal and refund policies stated in the student contract, which you must sign before you start any course with a private school.
Therefore it is important for you to consider if there will be any major changes in your personal or work commitments that may affect or disrupt your studies.
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