Choosing the right program

The Australian Education system provides international students with many options to pursue, from ESL programs to vocational programs, and from undergraduate to postgraduate degree. Australia also has very strong vocational and technical programs through the TAFE system. Here is a list of the most popular type of programs offered to international students in Australia:

ESL – English as a Second Language

If you are going to live in an English speaking country, the ability to communicate in English is going to be vital for you. Realizing this, almost 20% of all international students who come to Australia enroll in an intensive ESL program (known in Australia as ELICOS) to improve their English. This number is increasing as students choose the multicultural atmosphere of Australia to learn English.

There are hundreds of institutions that currently offer English language programs and they vary from place to place. Programs are of all levels, from beginner to advanced, and there are normally no admission requirements. Students planning to study undergraduate in Australia will take ESL program as a foundation course.

Most of the Australian institutions prefer the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for admission. However, institutions may accept TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the Pearson Test of English (PTE-Academic) as the proof of English language proficiency. If you are thinking about obtaining a Permanent Residency (PR) status, the Australian government requires you to have a minimum of 6.0 in IELTS.

Undergraduate/ Graduate Degrees

There are 43 registered universities in Australia offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. You may choose a university over a college if you want to have a detailed knowledge of a subject rather than prepare you for a quick job.

VET – Vocational Education and Training

Australia’s VET system, called TAFE (Technical and Further Education) is a network of institutions that offer programs that are both practical and career-orientated. These programs enable students to begin their career path with study and work all rolled into one program. The main benefit to employers of VET graduates is that they know the individual has practical, workplace experience as well as the theoretical background. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of international students using TAFE/VET programs to enter Australia and increase their chances of becoming permanent residents.

Study Abroad

Universities in Australia have ‘Study Abroad’ programs for international students coming to their universities as well. Under the program, the students can go to a partner university in a third country in order to study a certain part of their course. Studying abroad can be enlightening as well as fun. Studying Abroad can be an excellent way to learn and experience a new culture and education system, without fully enrolling for a full degree. You can also spend a full semester or a year in Study Abroad program such that special arrangements are made.

To learn about what sort of Study Abroad programs Australian universities have, you can find a section with that name in their site. However, you cannot apply for a Study Abroad program prior to your admission to the university.

Private/Specialized Colleges

These colleges prepare you for a vocation. There are many colleges in Australia that offer diplomas, or certificates in almost every area of study. These private/ specialized colleges vary in price depending on the school but they all basically offer a program that can range from 3 months to 3 years. You may be able to transfer credits from these courses to universities, but it depends on the relationship between the college and university.

You need to be conscious while choosing a university.


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