Don’t Get Scammed by Your School
The for-profit school industry has garnered a lot of attention over the years. Trade schools and vocational schools do a great job at supplying generations with skilled laborers and assisting them in overlapping years of education for a degree they won’t use. Vocational and trade schools get straight to the point: Do you want a great skill that will make you money? If so, then have a seat and we can get you started.
Year after year, students begin their journey to getting certified in various fields. The health industry, the manufacturing industry, the information technology industry are all industries you can work in. Pretty much any trade that you can make a career out of that may not require a degree is viable for vocational schools to offer. The problem isn’t that being successful with a certificate is unattainable - we know that it’s possible because it is constantly being done. The problem is: how do we make sure students are not getting scammed by schools that will not help them be successful?
There are special things to look for in a school and here is a list of questions you can ask the front desk or your admissions advisor to make sure you are about to attend a school that cares about your success.
Ask About Their Accreditors
When you look up a school, the first thing you should look for is who their accreditors are. Educational accreditors are external groups that ensure that schools are doing the right thing with all of their student files, operations, and money handling. They are basically a stamp of quality assurance. If schools are missing their mark in certain fields, they are no longer accredited and get shut down.
If a school is accredited by a specific group, it shows that they are essentially following all the rules they should be. You can usually find out who is a schools accreditor on their website. If not, be sure to ask about it during your advisement interview. From there you can check with that accreditor if all licensing is proper and that school is doing well in that field.
Ask About Job Placement
The whole point of a career school is to make sure students are gaining careers. Be sure to make sure that is happening. Schools have a designated career services department, that is where all the job finding happens. The career services department is designated to help with that so they have to have a list of what graduates have jobs and more statistics to go with that. See how many of their students have found jobs in their field. How many students are interested in pursuing more education in that field? How many students decided to take other programs to supplement their certificate? How many students were no longer interested in that field? What kind of jobs did they get? These are things you should be looking out for.
Ask About The Specifics of Your Education
This can seem broad, but it’s very important that you get down to the nitty gritty of how you will be learning. What kind of materials will you be using? Is that paid for? Do they have enough materials? Do I need to provide anything on my own? If you are going to a program that is hands on, you want to make sure you are getting that hands on experience. You can not go to a culinary school with no food. It would be very hard to learn how to cook and bake without ingredients. Ask about the tools you will use and how much of it requires you to supply them on your own.
Another thing to focus on is who will be teaching you? Ask about the teachers at the institution you are applying to. Teachers are going to be the guidance you will need every single day you are attending that campus, if they are not good at their job and a credible source for the field you are in, you will be in trouble. Ask how credible your teachers are and how they can help you.
If possible, see how if you can test out a class and sit in for a bit. That way you can see first hand what the teachers can do for you. If you want to speak directly to a teacher, you can ask to do that as well. Not only does sitting in on a class let you see what the teachers are like, but it can give you a glimpse of your daily life there. Take a look around at the students and how they are learning. Are they attentive? Do they have the proper materials and tools around them that can assist them with their education? These are things you should be looking for.
Many teachers who are doing their job correctly will gladly speak to you face to face if they have the time and give you the reassurance you need.
Talk to Students About The School
Try to get the chance to speak to a student or two while you are on campus. A websites’ testimonials normally highlight the really great ones, so it will make you feel more comfortable if that review is unfiltered and unsponsored by that entity. Get honest advice from people on the same page as you. Is it worth it is essentially the question you should be asking.
If you can’t find a student to speak to there are many business review websites such as yelp that let customers review businesses they have attended. There you can find in depth reviews about trade schools made by participants not affiliated by those schools. Honest opinions from honest people.
Ask Questions About Financial Aid
Anyone trying to speed past fine print or not answer any financial questions is seemingly trying to hide something. If you are going to spend a lot of money on something or taking out a loan, you want to be sure you know all the details. Ask all the financial questions you need and don’t take any wishy washy answers. Your money is important and if someone is quickly trying to take and get you out of the room they do not care about you.
Ask about interest, loan amounts, grants, aid, and all of your options. You want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to paying for school.
Don’t Be Shy About Asking Questions
Finally, be sure that through all of your searching for the right school - do not be shy to ask questions. A true school that cares about you will gladly answer all of those questions and give you all the materials you need to get them answered. Pamphlets, online videos, seminars, one on one meetings. You want to be sure if you are taking out a loan to get certified, you want the best education you could get with the greatest possibilities.
Remember, you can tell one someone cares about getting you a job.