In my last post, I wrote about a major change at the National School of Aesthetics in 2014 by offering a concurrent Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Certificate in Nail Technology course. Now that we’ve updated our Web site with a fresh new look and uploaded our 2014 course information pack, I can write a little more about other changes at the National School of Aesthetics. In this post, I’ll cover changes to application and interview requirements for 2014.
Two of the strengths our NZQA External Evaluation and Review report pointed out to us were our interest in each individual student applying with NaSA to determine their goals and aspirations and our ability to help students achieve and succeed, no matter what their educational background. Both of these areas are very important to us.
Over the years, we have mostly decreased the evidence we need submitted with the application. Even though we have done this, we recently came to the conclusion that all this information could be hindering some otherwise capable applicants from applying.
The interview process had grown slightly cumbersome and rigid. We could only hold interview presentations on certain days at certain times due to our timetable, and, to make it worth our while and comfortable for applicants, we needed a few applicants at any given time to make it work. While the interview process we had worked while the World Wide Web was in its infancy, now it would be hard-pressed to find an applicant who didn’t know what the Web was or how to access it.
Jacqui, Noel, Don and I had several conversations on ways to make applications and interviews easier and shift emphasis away from the application and interview parts and more focus on enrolment as the main event in the process while maintaining our focus on the individual applicant throughout the process. Here’s what we emerged with:
Changes in the Application Process
Our previous application process involved a prospective student turning in several different submissions along with their application form, like a Curriculum Vitae, written references, and so on. While these helped us sometimes understand an applicant and their background in many circumstances, we found that in some other circumstances, they did not represent the applicant, or gave us a small snapshot of the applicant, focussing on areas other than what would shine as their strengths in the course.
In addition, we ask various questions in the individual interview, which seemed to double-up these requirements.
We want to reduce barriers for our applicants to make the process easier for them to gain access to education. There is a risk in doing this for some applicants (those who do not research the industry and the course, especially, as these people tend to think beauty therapy and nail technology will be easy; they aren’t), but no matter how many or few requirements we have, we will get the small minority who will do this nonetheless. So, to reduce the barriers for the vast majority of good applicants is a better thing for the whole.
In 2014, applicants will need to submit the completed application form, including the declaration on any medical / learning / cognitive / mental conditions. Most, if not all, of our applicants 20 and under should have a Record of Learning with NZQA (NCEA is reported on this).
If an applicant does not have any qualifications listed on NZQA’s Record of Learning site, then we’ll ask the applicant to provide these to us.
We need to determine all applicants can demonstrate the ability to achieve and succeed while studying with us, so the prior learning or applicable experience requirements still apply.
While the process is easier, we still respectfully ask applicants not to apply if they are unsure on whether this is the course or industry for them, but to talk to us first. One of the major changes is that we are now charging applicants who apply but do not take their application further, or who decide after the interview that they will not contact us back, or in other scenarios as well. When an applicant submits an application, this creates more work for us than if a prospective applicant came to us to speak with us about the course and industry first. We are funded mostly through taxpayers’ money, and the less wastage there is, the more money we can pump into education and our students’ training.
But, overall, our new application process is a lot easier for applicants than the previous requirements.
In my next post, I’ll talk about Changes in Interviews for 2014.
Scott Fack is the Director of Operations at the National School of Aesthetics. He remains one of the beauty therapy education industry’s leaders in compliance requirements and quality management systems.