Often Imitated, Never Bettered There are now many of colleges involved in offering online 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 our own online interior design courses, and making grand claims that they can't back up.

There's Professional and There's "Professional"... For instance, you may come across online interior design courses described as "professional diploma courses" or even "advanced 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 ask 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 various professional bodies when in fact 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, you should request the name of the institution and a contact name and email address for independent verfication.

You might also find some colleges giving the impression of a "major city presence" when they're simply renting a smart address that's no more than a mail and telephone forwarding service.

You Get What You Pay For Do all these practices upset legitimate colleges such as Rhodec? They most 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 allow them to 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 Difficult 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:

Compare Online Interior Design Colleges - Checklist

Question Rhodec Other College
1. Is the college accredited,
and if so is the accreditation legitimate?
Yes ?
2. Can I join the BIID, the IIDA
and the ASID if I enrol with you?
Yes(Diploma Course enrolment required) ?
3. Will any question I have before
enrolment or while studying
be answered promptly?
YesYes, by or email, telephone or
direct online messaging via our VLE
(Virtual Learning Environment)
?
4. Can I email my tutors direct? Yes ?
5. Will my course tests be graded promptly? Yes ?
6. Has the college been established long?? YesSince 1960 ?
7. If I wish to check on the college's
claims independently, will you supply me with
details of appropriate institutions?
? ?
8. Can I join the BIID, the IIDA
and the ASID if I enrol with you?
YesYes, via messaging on our online
VLE (Virtual Learning Environment).
?
9. Will any question I have before
enrolment or while studying
be answered promptly?
YesYes, by or email, telephone or
direct online messaging via our VLE
?
10. Will your "professional"
course really teach me to
professional standards?
Yes ?