"Are private fashion courses worth the money?" is a question many have asked. Breaking into the fashion industry is extremely difficult, which has meant many are shelling out a lot of money to get their foot in the door. But is there really any benefit to attending more expensive institutions? Look at Conde Nast College, for the diploma students pay
£23,472 whereas in the more established Central Saint Martins students pay £3,500 for the same qualification. That's an astonishing large difference considering you come out with the same diploma. Conde Nast would argue that their fees are higher because of the impressive alumni and that they charge all students equally; compared to most British colleges which charge international students a higher fee.
Most graduates are in a total debt of £44,000 which is continuing to rise, with most students facing a future where they'll never be able to pay off their loans. This is already a staggering statistic, so why are people going to private institutions and paying even more than this?
It's a stereotype that students who attend these private institutions do so because 1) they come from extremely affluent families 2) they didn't get in to non-private universities.
Do these private fashion courses have any merit? Or, are places like Conde Nast simply using them as a quick money making scheme- they know people will buy into the Vogue brand, so are they taking advantage of this power? Regent's School of Fashion & Design offers a BA (Hons) in Fashion Design, which costs £11,650 annually. This may not be that far removed from standard university fees but you do have to wonder what you're paying extra for. A look at the academic requirements may hint to the answer, you only need 5 GCSE's at C or above. Compared to Central Saint Martins which requires a foundation studies in Art and Design. Are students paying extra to get a degree when they wouldn't usually meet the entry requirements for at non-private universities? Is this unfair on those students who don't come from affluent backgrounds and can't afford to go to private institutions, even if they're more qualified that the students that do go? Yes, it probably is unfair, but when discussing the merit of private courses many employees understand this and will favour non-private backgrounds.
There isn't a definitive answer to the question, private fashion courses may be a great route for some and others it won't even be an option. The fashion industry typically only cares about one thing- work experience. If you do decide to enrol on a fashion course then use your time wisely, intern over holidays or between contact hours, because that's what will start out. Everyone begins as an intern, and the sooner you start this process the sooner you'll get where you want in the industry. If you can afford private courses, then go for it, it'll help you figure out which part of the industry you want to specialise in. If you can't, don't worry, just put yourself out there and go for every opportunity that comes your way.
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