Often Imitated, Never Bettered
There are a number of colleges involved in offering distance learning interior design courses. Some are good; others less so. Quite a few of the latter variety have sprung up in recent years, taking full advantage of the fact that copyright laws are often difficult or impossible to enforce across international boundaries, in some cases copying wholesale from our own website and course materials, basing their very existence on pale (and cut price) imitations of the interior design courses we offer, and making grand claims that they can't back up.
There's Professional and There's "Professional"...
For example, you may come across interior design courses described as "professional diploma courses" that purport to qualify the student to set up as a professional interior designer on graduation (or even before) when the course content is more basic than that of our Associate Diploma Course, considered a foundation course in Rhodec terms. You may like to ponder why many of these "professional" interior design courses are one year or less in duration when our introductory Associate Diploma Course is of that length and our genuinely professional Diploma Course requires three solid years' work.
... and There's Recognition and There's "Recognition"
Similarly, colleges may claim "recognition" from many professional bodies when in reality they have no direct ties with them at all. You may also find them claiming "accreditation" from bogus bodies that have often been set up by the college itself, or a group of dubious colleges, in an effort to lend an air of legitimacy to their operations. These bodies produce lists of colleges supposedly accredited by them, usually including a large number of genuinely accredited colleges to impress the unwary. We ourselves have appeared without our prior knowledge or permission on several such lists, and have only been removed following our threats of legal action.
What's Really on Offer?
Another ploy is for a college to make perpetual claims on its website that it's working on important new qualifications which will be ready any day now. If you see such a claim you have every right to ask exactly what the qualifications are and exactly when they're going to be ready; and if to be awarded by a third party, to request the name of the institution and for a contact name and email address for independent verfication.
You may also find some colleges giving the impression of a "major city presence" when in reality they're simply renting a smart address that's no more than a mail/telephone/fax forwarding service. Here's one example of any number that you can find on the web.
You Get What You Pay For
Do all these practices upset legitimate colleges such as Rhodec? They certainly do. The internet is awash with "colleges" that are run by opportunistic business people who give distance learning a bad name, and who care nothing for educational excellence nor for the welfare or future of the students whose money they set out to grab by fair means or foul - usually foul.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for - bogus colleges rely on P. T. Barnum's famous adage that "there's a sucker born every minute". Don't let them turn you into one of those suckers - before parting with your money, ask some pertinent questions of each college and see how forthcoming they are in providing concrete evidence for their claims rather than giving vague assurances, brush-offs and promises that "we'll get back to you on that one". When you delve a little deeper you may be shocked to find how many legitimate-seeming colleges are built around a flimsy web of half-truths, deceit and downright lies. But always remember: a good conman must above all else be convincing.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Probing Questions
If the college has nothing to hide it will have no problem answering them. Although not all relevant to all colleges, you might like to use these questions below as a starting point, and will doubtless be able to think of a few more of your own:
|1. Is the college accredited, and if so is the accreditation legitimate?|
|2. Can I join the BIID, the IIDA and the ASID if I enrol with you?||
(Diploma Course enrolment required)
|3. Will any question I have before enrolment or while studying be answered promptly?||
Yes, by or email, telephone or letter
|4. Can I email my tutors direct?|
|5. Will my course tests be graded promptly?|
|6. Has the college been established long?||
|7. If I wish to check on the college's claims independently, will you supply me with details of appropriate institutions?||
See Recognition and Accreditation
|8. Can I contact others taking the course?||
Yes, on a student-run Facebook group, and via messaging on the online VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) itself.
|9. Are the courses written and taught by qualified professionals?||
See our Tutors and Writers
|10. Will your "professional" course really teach me to professional standards?|