Once you’ve decided that fashion is the only career path for you, then it all comes down to the big decision – where to study? Local or international? Top-tier or more accessible institutions? There are many factors that go into deciding on a fashion institute. Here are some of the most important elements that students consider when choosing a fashion design school.
An established fashion design school carries a lot of weight on a CV – and with good reason. Having the right connections, experienced staff members and a deep understanding of fashion design places you in a better position to get started on a lucrative career path. Potential fashion design students are looking at general reviews of established fashion institutions online and researching what the overall perception of the fashion school is before making any major decisions.
A good brand costs money, and so it goes with fashion design schools. Emerging fashion design students are assessing exactly what their money gets them, scholarship options and various payment plans available. Extra costs that have to be considered include deposits, books, design materials, software, fabrics and accommodation.
A fashion design institute is only as good as the students it produces, so those looking to enrol will undoubtedly research who has graduated from the school. Obviously, the high-profile names will always make a big impression, but students are also looking to see that graduates are able to land solid careers within the fashion industry on completion of studies, rather than just working to make ends meet for years.
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Too often there are fly-by-night institutions that make grand promises but actually don’t deliver. Or they’re simply not accredited, making the qualification effectively useless. In South Africa, a fashion design school must be accredited with the Department of Education under the Higher Education Act, 1997. Any further accreditations – international or local – are an added bonus. Students will look for accredited fashion institutes before paying any deposits.
There is no space for general fashion qualifications in the modern era, potential students are deciding on their specialisations at high school-level and seeking fashion design schools that match their specific requirements. Sought-after fashion design schools, while providing a solid grounding in all fashion aspects, will have an area of focus that sets them apart. This will be evident in the courses offered and past students’ successes.
When paying high tuition fees for the best design school, students want personalised attention. This is why the class-to-teacher ratio is a big factor when deciding on a fashion design school. If the class size is too big, then students will feel lost among the crowd, and also that – when they graduate – they are just one of many seeking employment options in the same field. Smaller classes are more conducive to effective learning.
At the end of it all, the results speak for themselves, so if a fashion design school is renowned for producing leading industry role-players and boasts a high graduation success rate, then it’s likely to be a good bet. Students also need to assess the entry requirements early on, so from high school level they know exactly what they are working towards.
Read more: Choosing the right fashion design school