View Full Version : TAFE versus University
My son will finish his VCE this year and I am hoping he will get a really good ENTER. I am hoping he gets over 90. I have invested in a lot of private tutors and he seems to be studying so much.
Some people I have spoken to have said that university is a waste of time and that TAFE is better because TAFE gives you real skills that are suited to a vocation while university tends to be more general and theory-based.
However, my friend Frank says that only poor students go to TAFE. He said the following: "We the elite of Australia all send our kids to universities, and not just any backyard diploma-mill university but the top Australian universities (http://www.google.com.au/search?sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGGL,GGGL:2006-34,GGGL:en&q=australian+university+ranking)."
What I would like to know is how much status matters in higher education. For example, suppose you studied computer science or maths at Harvard University like Bill Gates did and compare that to, say, a computer course at Excomm or some TAFE. Even if the two places teach roughly the same thing it is probably naive to think that the two courses have the same effect on success in the labor market just because the course content is similar.
Another issue I'd like to explore is general subjects versus more specific subjects. I have a friend who claims that university is a complete waste of time. He came out of high school and became a plumber and now he earns money and has a house and car while all his uni friends of similar age are still slogging it out with exams and such. He claims that it is better to get money faster by focusing on more specific vocational courses at technical schools rather than waste time with the general disciplines at university. A browse through the TAFE catalog reveals very specific courses such as Picture Framing IIV or How to Write a Business Letter whereas uni subjects tend be, say, Linear Algebra, Fundamentals of Biochemistry, etc.
So basically a commerce degree at Melbourne Uni would need an ENTER of about 95 to get in, which means you'd have to be in the top 5 per cent. But why not just do a business course at some TAFE that doesn't even require an ENTER? Would they be the same?
I guess it is up to your son and what he would like to do in life. If he is skills orientated than TAFE could be a good option for him. If he likes studies and wand to get proper degree, than he should go to Uni. I did a diploma course at Australian College. And OMG what a waste of time. I have been taught the same stuff as in high school overseas :thumbsdown:. Plus the class was full of students with VERY poor English .. which is annoying because they spend all day asking irrelevant questions. I am at Uni now and enjoying the whole experience. I love studying and Uni is more appropriate for me. Hope you and your son will make the right decision. Good luck with it all.
BTW I do believe there is a difference in degree from a good Uni, average Uni and College. Most institutions overseas do recognise degree form good Uni but not from college.
A lot of large companies only hire graduates i.e. those with a university degree. A TAFE diploma will not satisfy the application criteria.
Honestly, it depends on what an individual wants to do as to which is more appropriate.
I like Tafe in that a lot of their courses get you credit to a university degree. Considering uni is so $$$ getting 6-12 months of a uni degree is fantastic!! But I do feel that a uni degree is more sought after than tafe degrees. As well as uni, I would see if he could get more work experience, volunteer work, even paid work somewhere in that career path, because then he will be even more desirable to an employer.
Tafe is also good if he doesnt get the kinds of marks he needs.
You canít compare a Bachelor Of Computer Science and Mathematics at a top university in the world to a Diploma in Computer Science at TAFE; theyíre just not comparable.:no:
The university degree in that instance would without a doubt be of more value than the TAFE diploma. My husband is a Vice-President of a global IT firm, he has a total of five university degrees including a four year dual degree in mathematics and computer science in addition he is currently completing his PhD.
As an employer he has informed me that if someone were to apply for an IT or system engineering position within the firm, a TAFE computer course would not be adequate, university qualification are a necessity.
I myself have two-university degree and am in the process of completing my master. I am in no doubt I would not be in the position I currently in today without university qualifications.
Yes, as your friendís son has pointed out, life as a university student does require three or more years with an average to low income. However my husband graduated from USQ with a dual degree 20 years ago while I graduated UQ seven years ago. Due to our chosen career paths we are very fortunate to own a new 40sq home outright, two late model SUV plus have the financial capability to send our children to the top private schools in Queensland! So personally I feel our university tertiary education along with those initial few years without a substantial income was very much worth it in the long run!:yes:
First year subjects at university are always broad as in the first year they like to insure everyone has the same level of knowledge before progressing further into the degree. From memory several course I undertook during my first degree a Bachelor Of Urban and Regional Town Planing had very board/basic titles such as Biology 2, Chemistry 3 and Geographical Information System they were far from basic, straightforward or irrelevant.
For some careers TAFE courses are perfect and all you need while other careers will require university qualification. My advice is to first find out what career path your son wishes to follow then decide the appropriate tertiary institute needed to obtain the quantification required for that career.
I am sorry, I have babbled on for far to long, hope some of what I have said has made sense!:laughing:
It depends on what one wants to do. I am completing a Bachelor of Accounting degree and at the end I will qualify for acceptance into the CPA or CA program. I do not necessarily want to be a tax accountant, financial advising, stocks, investments all grab my interest. These types of careers cannot be completed at TAFE.
In saying this my DH is an electrician and is earning $130 000 a year in the mines. No uni degree for that.
Uni degrees are very theory based, and you don't really learn until you gain proper experience. Nothing can beat experience. My mum works for ANZ in business lending and has a lot of accounting grads under her. She has been in the field for 20 years but does not have tertiary education. She knows far more though.
Just a thought. :)
ALthough Tafe in the long term is cheaper, you have to pay up front for the course. University you can defer the fees until you earn a certain amount in wages.
I think there was some election talk about including TAFE courses in HECS (or Fee-help) scheme...
Depends if hes declared independant by centrelink and on youth allowance they will pay for it for him.
Firstly.... if your entitled to centrelink it is great for uni!
Studying full time i only had to work 2 shifts a week to support myself out of home (10 hours from mum and dad), and i get nothing from mum and dad (because they cant afford it, they would love to pay for everything for me!). Of course thats changed now due to baby coming along (DP pays for everything :D)
and HECS or commonwealth supported place is excellent, they cant take any money off you until you earn over a certain amount (i think its about $36k), and the most they can take from you is around 4% of your wage once your earning over the threshold.
Anyway, yes i do believe a university degree looks better to employers, and not only that they will consider which university you went to. But this all depends on what your son wants to do also.
I disagree that university courses are all theory based, my course has lots of practical, but again it depends on what you do (i do veterinary science). But i do agree that the most useful stuff you will learn for working for the rest of your life will be learnt outside of university... university is so you can learn all the underlying principles etc...
And i have done a few TAFE courses whilst still at school (one in tutoring and one in chemistry)... and i found them utterly useless, but thats just my experience. Also, the only kids from school that i know that went to TAFE were the ones who missed out on uni because their UAI was too low.
Just my 2cents worth :)
I agree with dreamer - most courses are not comparable.
If the career requires practical skills, then those are included in the uni course. (The course I did, and now teach in has 1000 hours of practical fieldwork).
As for cost - HECS will pay upfront for anyone that gets in on academic merits. I paid my HECS off in about 3years - not always possible, but depends a lot on how employable you are after completing your course. This is what I think the key is to which is better for different people. How employable you are will determine how soon you can start earning money.
The how employable bit depends on job availability for the graduates of the course - does the course give a definite qualification? eg if you gain a trade certificate from TAFE, you might be more employable then someone that does an Arts degree at Uni.
In a lot of ways it's like comparing apples and oranges and the ones of us that went to uni will probably say that way's better, but the ones of us that went to TAFE will probably say that's better:o
Depends where you want to be in the future as to what course you do, and where you can do it. There's not always a tafe and uni option.
Nursing you can do either way, alot of environmental science stuff and child care ca also be done either way, may take longer through TAFE but is cheaper, and some people find the course lay out much easier to follow.
I have done uni and Tafe courses and both have + and - points. I enjoyed TAFE more, and found it easier to follow and more rewarding and encouraging when you did well.
Some people prefer TAFE, some prefer UNI, you don't know until you try.
If he dosen't get the entry requirement straight out of school to get into uni, TAFE is a back door, if he does well in a TAFE course he would probobly be able to go to uni after that.
There's plenty of options, it's not like if he starts down one road that's it.
It dramatically depends on what your son eventually wants to do.
One suggestion would be to contact some employments agencies in the field he wants to study in, ask what they are looking for in new graduates.
I am in the welfare field and found my TAFE studies to be much more detailed and demanding than the Uni studies I did after.
But, I must admit that I went on to Uni because a degree looks better on my CV than a diploma.
Aim as high as he can. If he gets into TAFE, remember that it can be an excellent stepping stone into uni later on.
I may be a bit late, and I'm sorry if I come across as being rude but this is my opinion.
I take offence toyour friend said saying that only poor students go to TAFE. Firstly, I am not very well off with money so it may be true, but I know alot of people who have a lot of money who go to TAFE so its definately not just for poor kids. I'm sorry for cracking as that was not your opinion ( I dont think) I just get angry when people bring money status into things like this.
Now.. I'm attending tafe at the moment and I love it. Personally, it is a more "laid-back" environment to me. I think uni is more structed, my DP hated it when he went that is why he deferred. I think that if your son wants to be studying full on, in a "tougher" environment so to say Uni is better. But if he wants a more relaxed laid back environment with still studying good subjects, pretty much the same as uni then tafe is good. Some courses are also only offered at tafe.
Best of luck to your son!
I would suggest that your son follow his interests.
The end result of TAFE and University are different depending on what kind of career you want. TAFE is more skill oriented and practical towards trade-like employment whereas University I guess is more intellectual-oriented and theoretical.
The only way to succeed is to choose a path that he will enjoy and excell at - whether that be brickpaving, hairdressing, teaching or lawyering (gee - who would think that I went to uni with grammar like that!)
I think the choice between Uni and TAFE is actually irrelevant and secondary to determining where your son's strengths and interests lie.
Hi I am a mum of 2 children: 10 and 7. I have a degree in Nursing and now am thinking of a career change. After reading a few posts, most people recommend a cert3 child care course, then a Dip. In Childcare and then uni. I am aware that I can do a Grad. Dip in Teaching (0to 5) , however I think It would be better for me to do the undergraduate course to 'ease' myself into this new field. The last time I was at uni was 10 years ago and I have lost confidence. What should I do?? Should I start off with a cert 3 at TAFE or should I do the 3 year Bachelor of Teachign at Macq. Uni (distance)?? I don't think I will tackle postgraduate studies, I have heard it is more difficult than undergrad. Thoughts?? Much appreciated.
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