As an international student, making crucial decisions relating to your studies is part of your education journey in Australia. Examples of which can be pursuing a higher degree after completing your studies or deciding to change your course or move on to another education provider. Although it seems pretty simple, but without proper professional guidance, you may end up in financial distress, missed opportunity or complicated student visa issues.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) allows such changes but you have to be mindful of the direct effect on your visa and status in Australia. Here are tips on how to ensure a smoother transition:
Do your research
Once you have decided to pursue your plans, you can start your research or even do an actual visit to the institutions to weigh crucial factors such as student service support, faculty, facilities, student dynamics and others affecting your welfare as a student. These will be beneficial in making an informed decision in the future.
Please be reminded that your new field of study should be CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students) recognised and must match your career goals. To check the accredited Australian education providers and the list of courses being offered to international students, you may check the official Australian website of CRICOS for more info. (www.cricos.education.gov.au).
Seek the help of student services office
Your university’s student service officers’ primary role is looking after students’ welfare over diverse concerns, providing assistance and directing them to the appropriate department for help. As the office is designed to provide support for its students, they have had experiences in handling requests regarding change in the field of study or to shift to another education provider. They can also explain to you the policies relating to your requests.
Check the transfer policy of your education provider
Be reminded as well that you have signed an agreement with your current education provider, acknowledging your acceptance of their study conditions including their transfer policy and that you are conforming to your obligations as their student.
Review the transfer policy of your university if you are eligible to receive partial or full refund or in most cases, pay the incurred penalty.
Did you know that students are able to submit their requests relating to changes in their initial courses or possible institution transfer before the “census date” as popularly known to Australian institutions?
Review your visa requirements and conditions
Your student visa is what gives you entitlement to live, study and work as an international student. Without a valid student visa, you are unable to stay and study in Australia. As such, it is important to understand the requirements and conditions of your visa pertaining to change in course or institution.
Introduced in July 2016, Simplified Student Visa Framework aims to facilitate easier visa application for aspiring international students.
Visit Overseas Student Ombudsman
It is advisable to complete at least six months of your principal course before shifting to another. However, there are cases wherein Immigration consents premature shift due to special circumstances.
To learn more about the above, you may check the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 or ESOS National code and see if any appeals to your concern. You should ask for permission to be released from your education provider if it is clear that you are under reasonable grounds. Come to the office of State or Territory Ombudsman and speak with the Overseas Student Ombudsman to petition for support and proper advice.
Consult your education counsellors
With your education counsellors’ extensive experience in providing guidance to international students, they offer professional advice on how to go about your plan, hassle free. Education agencies are appointed by institution to represent them in recruiting students, making counsellors well versed with complex procedures and policies, which they handle on a daily basis. Additionally, they are able to search and present different scholarships and financial aids with ease allowing you to have options to choose from.
Whilst you may face challenges in pursuing your dream education in Australia, there are ample assistance available from your education counsellor, the university, and the Australian government. You just need to know how to tap into them.
We at AECC Global are dedicated to providing you up-to-date information for your needs as an international student. Visit us now for a free consultation. From course options, fees associated, scholarships available, credit transfer application, visa grants, briefing before departure, arrival, to ongoing support and assistance, we make sure that every move you make is heading to the right direction in achieving your goals.