If you’re looking for something to do while waiting for your SPM results, a short course or two could be a great use of your time.
Short courses are short-term and usually intensive training classes. They can last from less than a week to six months, depending on the subject, the institution, and if a certification is being pursued.
Short courses are available for a variety of subjects, ranging from foreign languages to photography to accounting. Usually, short courses are taken to learn or improve skills in an area of interest and/or for career advancement.
There are also short courses that prepare you for taking an externally administered exam – for example, you could take an English language course at a language centre to prepare for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) which is administered by the British Council.
They also can serve as an introduction to a subject or skill area that you may not be familiar with. Thus, they are also a good way to find out if you are suited to the course or career that you are interested in.
Short courses are offered by various institutions – from community colleges to universities to professional associations.
Keep in mind that short courses that are taken at universities usually do not lead or count towards a degree or diploma.
Some longer skills-training courses offered by vocational training institutions or colleges may award a certificate of competence that formally recognises the student’s ability to carry out specific tasks.
Short courses are not the same as professional qualifications or diploma courses, and employers often do not regard these as equivalent to a university education. Before you take up a short course, ask plenty of questions regarding the recognition of the certification (if any is awarded).
However, completing short courses in specific fields – whether it’s accounting or photography – will help you gain a foundation in professional skills that you can build on. Taking a short course related to the career or degree course that you plan to study in the future will also help to prove your interest in your professional development to employers after you graduate.
This article was published on 31 May 2012.